The nutritional supplement industry is not very well regulated. Most companies claim that their products are the purest, safest, most potent products on the shelves. In truth however, it is regularly revealed by watchdog consumer groups like consumerlab.com or Consumer Reports that this is not the case. Often nutritional supplements are of questionable quality and many actually contain contaminants like lead and other heavy metals, bacteria, solvent residues and other possibly dangerous contaminants. Many products don’t meet the label claims for potency, amount of active ingredient or even the identity of the ingredient contained in the product. It is not that unusual for there to be ingredients not claimed on the label and in some cases there can be very little or even none of the listed main ingredients! Remarkable as it seems, it is definitely a “buyers beware” market.
Most supplement manufacturers like to believe that their raw materials suppliers are providing them with safe, uncut ingredients that are free from impurities and high in potency. Ingredient suppliers provide a Certificate of Analysis with raw materials from all over the world. These certificates list laboratory analysis test results for the material’s identity, potency, heavy metal content, mold and bacteria. Most supplement manufacturers like to believe that this is accurate information.
When Bairn Biologics started to independently test the raw materials we were receiving, it became apparent that the Certificate of Analysis was often inaccurate and occasionally completely misleading. In embracing GMP standards we decided to build our own quality assurance laboratory. We decided if we couldn’t trust our suppliers, we would find out for ourselves if the raw materials we were using were the purest, safest, best quality ingredients available for our products.
It has been an educational process, but we know now that we have to test everything that goes into our products. If the tests don’t validate what the supplier has stated on the Certificate of Analysis, we find a new supplier that has a better quality raw material. No compromises, no excuses. That is the Bairn Biologics promise!
In 2008, we made the decision to build a state of the art laboratory in our home office. Having our own independent lab allows us to test each and every ingredient from our vendors, to guarantee not only the quality of ingredients, but purity from toxins, lead, and other heavy metals. If, during our testing, we conclude the ingredients aren’t as pure and clean as we’d like, we find other raw material vendors that can supply us with the quality we are looking for.
In order to help to ensure our lab’s continued accuracy, we send random samples to third party labs to confirm our results. We also participate in a federal government program wherein we analyze blind samples and submit our results to a government laboratory. They then check our results and report their findings to us. We have never been outside the range of exemplary accuracy.
A brief synopsis of our assay capacities are as follows:
Nothing is more important to quality than using the right raw materials. To assure the identity of every ingredient in our products, we employ Thin Layer Chromotography (TLC) which identifies a substance when compared to a known sample of that same substance. The sample will then undergo further confirmation using Ultraviolet Spectrometry (UVS) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR).
Without knowing an ingredient’s potency, it is impossible to determine how much should be used. To measure the nutritional activity of each ingredient, we use High Performance Liquid Chromotography (HPLC).
Mineral and Heavy Metal Quantification
Just as minerals are vital nutrients, heavy metals are “mineral-like” substances we wish to avoid. Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy (with microwave digestion) reveals the levels of every mineral, trace element and heavy metal in a given material. It is the same process the State of California uses to measure minerals and metals for the purpose of enforcing Proposition 65.
Yeast, Molds, Bacteria
Many raw materials and all finished products must be tested for the presence of micro-organisms. Because these tests are highly specialized, we have them performed at third party labs.
We absolutely do not do any animal testing, whatsoever.
Educating our customers is the cornerstone of all that we do at Bairn Biologics. It is our hope that each time we educate a customer that we increase the level of accountability to our competitors. Please stop by our website frequently to check for new updates as they become available.