Determining the Quality of your Supplements.

Determining the Quality of your Supplements.

Once it’s determined that the ingredients are likely to be safe and effective, the final step is to identify a high-quality product. This step in the process can be particularly challenging because of the disparate manufacturing standards used throughout the dietary supplement industry.


Some industry groups have attempted to resolve this issue through self-regulation and industry-developed GMPs. Some private organizations have also attempted to address these problems by conducting laboratory analysis on dietary supplements and identifying problematic products. But none of these efforts provides a comprehensive, independent program for assuring product quality.

In 2001, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) launched a new program to address the issue of dietary supplement quality.

A Snapshot of USP

  • Founded in 1820
  • Independent, nongovernmental, not-for-profit company
  • Three governing bodies made up entirely of volunteers
    • Convention membership (policy body)
    • Board of Trustees (fiduciary body)
    • Council of Experts and Expert Committees (scientific body)
  • Official standards-setting authority in the US
  • Sets quality standards for Rx and OTC drugs and dietary supplements


The USP program is the most rigorous and comprehensive dietary supplement quality program available. USP conducts a rigorous process of tests and reviews before awarding the USP-Verified Mark to a brand name dietary supplement. Manufacturers voluntarily apply for verification. The process ensures that the supplements meet USP’s high standards for integrity, purity, and potency:

  • Experienced USP scientists direct the testing of supplement samples in well-equipped laboratories. They test these supplements against the official, FDA-recognized public standards that USP itself establishes.
  • USP audits the supplement manufacturer’s facilities, practices, records, and quality control measures.
  • USP tests marketplace samples of verified products to ensure that they continue to retain ingredient strength and stability over their shelf life.
  • Where needed, USP helps manufacturers improve their quality systems or reformulate their products to deliver the intended ingredients.
  • USP reviews supplement labels to ensure that the ingredients are properly listed and that appropriate dosage information and warnings/cautions/contraindications are featured.

USP Verified Supplements

  • Reliably contain the ingredients listed on the product label in declared strengths and amounts.
  • Will break down and release ingredients in the body within a specified amount of time.
  • Do not contain harmful levels of contaminants.
  • Have been manufactured using Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) as defined by USP.


As of February 2007, over 800 dietary supplement products have received the USP-Verified Mark. Click here to see how to identify products that have received the USP-Verified Mark.

Vitamin C can Help Protect DNA Damage of Skin Cells

LISBON –  – Researchers at the University of Leicester and Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal have found that vitamin C can help protect DNA damage of skin cells and lead to better skin regeneration.

Previous research has shown that DNA repair is upregulated in people consuming vitamin C supplements.

In the new study, the researchers have provided some mechanistic evidence.

The researchers used affymetrix microarray, for looking at gene expression, and the ‘Comet’ assay to study DNA damage

“The exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation increases in summer, often resulting in a higher incidence of skin lesions. Ultraviolet radiation is also a genotoxic agent responsible for skin cancer, through the formation of free radicals and DNA damage,” said lead researcher Tiago Duarte, formerly of the University of Leicester, and now at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal.

“Our study analysed the effect of sustained exposure to a vitamin C derivative, ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (AA2P), in human dermal fibroblasts.

“We investigated which genes are activated by vitamin C in these cells, which are responsible for skin regeneration.

“The results demonstrated that vitamin C may improve wound healing by stimulating quiescent fibroblasts to divide and by promoting their migration into the wounded area. Vitamin C could also protect the skin by increasing the capacity of fibroblasts to repair potentially mutagenic DNA lesions,” Duarte added.

The researchers hope that the results will be of great relevance to the cosmetics industry.

“The study indicates a mechanism by which vitamin C could contribute to the maintenance of a healthy skin by promoting wound healing and by protecting cellular DNA against damage caused by oxidation,” said Dr Marcus S. Cooke from the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and Department of Genetics, at the University of Leicester.

“These findings are particular importance to our photobiology interests, and we will certainly be looking into this further,” Cooke added.

The findings have been published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine. (ANI)