An Alternative for "Alternative Medicine"? How atomic physics can revolutionize the supplement industry.

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Progess in our understanding of the health benefits of nutritional and botanical supplements has been slow. Today, Vitalea Science, debuts technological platform that can answer many of the lingering questions concerning the role of these products in human health and disease. The technology, Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, was developed for atomic physics, but will now reinvigorate supplement research at a level of detail that was previously only available to the pharmaceutical industry.

Developers of nutraceutical and functional food products are in a highly competitive environment. Unlike the Pharmaceutical Industry, which is closely regulated, nutraceutical (botanical supplements) and functional food developers often do very little clinical testing before bringing new products to the markets; given the fact that many components of supplements are no less active than their drug counterparts, absorption and metabolism trials in human are increasingly viewed as an integral part of product development process. However, these studies can be extremely difficult because unlike drugs, nutraceutical are designed for optimal health rather than acute disease prevention-they are therefore consumed at much lower concentrations than pharmaceuticals. Quantifying the absorption and metabolism in humans at these low concentrations can be a daunting analytic challenge. Fortunately, Vitalea Science, Inc ( now offers a new tool, namely Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, that opens up nutraceutical research to the same scientific scrutiny that was previously only accessible to pharmaceutical companies.

"Science-based evidence from the clinic can assist in establishing product differentiation, while at the same time guiding formulation strategies that may increase the effectiveness of the product", stated Dr. Thuyle Vuong, Vice President of Operations for Vitalea Science, Inc., at the WorldNutra conference this week in San Francisco, California. "To be an effective nutraceutical, supplement or functional food, bioactive component(s) must be shown to be absorbed intact or as some active metabolite and reach the target tissue. It is key, therefore, to characterize the metabolism of these compounds in humans at dosage that reflect their average or suggested intake rates. Tracing the biological fate of bioactive constituents, however, has been hindered by a lack of quantitative sensitivity for tracers (molecularly tagged compounds) that can be safely used in any healthy sub-population. Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Vitalea Science solve this problem".

AMS is a form of mass spectrometry that provides the necessary sensitivity (down to tens of thousands of atoms) and precision (less than 3%) towards the semi-stable carbon-14 isotope to obtain accurate metabolic data safely in humans. AMS sensitivity virtually eliminates detection issues, giving the investigator the freedom to perform the type of study they feel most aptly answers their questions.

"Working closely with new product development team, Vitalea Science scientists can design appropriate studies resulting in scientifically sound, safe and effective product", claimed Dr. Vuong. "The way AMS has captured the interest of the Pharmaceutical Industry viv-a-vis microdosing, the same will hold true for the supplement industry." It is a bit ironic, that AMS has first caught fire with pharmaceuticals, for many of its biological applications were proven in the area of molecular nutrition over the last decade".

Dr. Vuong also noted that Vitalea recently enhanced its services through to include partnered services for Institutional Review Board approval and clinical testing units to facilitate AMS based studies for all investigators.

Located in Woodland, California, near University of California, Davis campus, Vitalea Science, Inc. is the first fully commercial Contract Research Organization in the United States to provide human microdosing (Phase 0) analytical services based on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) to the Pharmaceutical, Research, and Nutraceutical Industries. For further information about Vitalea Science and its range of services, including Microdosing, Metabolite Profiling and Biolabeling, please visit:

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Stephen Dueker
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