What's Really in That Extract?

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					58          regulatory review

What’s really in that extract?
                    any entrepreneurs are        eating a specified “dose.” Although            compounds work in concert. Consequently,
                    drawn to nutraceuticals      these processes were not necessarily           they must be present in the extract
                    because they want to         performed in a controlled environment,         together. Therefore, modifying an extraction
                    approach modern health       the directions for use were consistently       procedure in any way may ultimately alter
                    and well-being by virtue     followed, and probably provided similar        the phytochemical profile, rendering the final
of natural resources and not the processed       bioactive compounds every time. Today’s        extract ineffectual, reducing its effectiveness
products, both food and drugs, that we           extractions involve the use of different       toward a specific health condition or
have become accustomed to in the last few        solvents, mixtures of solvents, different      possibly even containing phytochemicals
decades. They want to create a product           temperatures, different pressures and          that may be harmful. An example of an
that is similar to preparations used by          variations of all these combined. It depends   unwanted activity is glycyrrhizin, a chemical
the ancient Chinese or Native Americans.         on the chemical properties of any given        derived from licorice root, which may
And, although this begins as a very simple       compound in a botanical or herb whether        cause high blood pressure and reduce
and reasonable idea, it can become very          an extraction process will remove it from      potassium levels. Hence, when choosing
complicated in practice when choosing raw        the solid portion and into the extract for     extracts, it is important to search the
materials. Most companies do not have            consumption. There may be hundreds of          scientific literature using resources such as
the knowledge or funds to travel to exotic       organic compounds drawn out in any given       PubMed to determine what compounds are
places to harvest their own plant sources,       extract and many — most likely — will not      associated with a health condition and at
and often do not want the labour involved        be chemically characterized. A different       what quantities.
in processing/extracting the plant into a                                                          If this information can be found,
usable form. Therefore, they are left with                                                      standardized herbal extracts are
deciding what extract, tincture, powder,                                                        an option: they provide data about
etc. is needed for the product. Again, this                                                     the quantity of one or more of the
is no easy task, considering that different                                                     phytochemicals in the extract. The
parts of the plant may be the source of                                                         compounds are determined by analytical
different extracts.                                                                             chemistry techniques and should come
   There are thousands of available natural                                                     with a certificate of analysis. However,
product extracts and it is obvious from                                                         raw material suppliers may only run the
the marketing that they are not all created                                                     tests listed on the certificate of analysis
equal. In 
Description: There are thousands of available natural product extracts and it is obvious from the marketing that they are not all created equal. In fact, some even mention having a proprietary extraction procedure. This leaves one to wonder what exactly ends up in the final extract. The traditional users of herbal medicine did not have the resources we have today; therefore, the primitive extraction procedures they used may give a completely different profile of biologically active chemicals from those sold today.
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