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Posted on May 02, 2017
Put to the Test: A Closer Look at Nootropics Depot’s Purity Testing
Nootropics offer an expansive range of dietary supplements and compounds that may improve your health and cognitive abilities. The near-infinite list of nootropics creates countless options and combinations, but it can also make it difficult to find quality compounds to add to your stack.
Once you find the dietary supplements or nootropic compounds suited for your individual body chemistry, it is crucial to find quality versions of that dietary supplement or nootropic compound. While the choices for nootropics are near-endless, not all nootropics on the market are created equal. That’s where identity and purity testing comes in. Identity refers to the idea that the sample being tested matches the molecular structure in the chemical profile of the targeted compound. Purity refers to how much of the target compound is present in the sample being tested. While the concept of identity and purity testing seems simple, the process encompasses various technical analytical techniques.
Nootropics Depot conducts both in-house and third-party identity and purity testing to ensure the authenticity and efficacy of ingredients found in each packaged dietary supplement or nootropic compound. Nootropics Depot uses several methods of analysis to test the purity of its products, including:
The Importance of Purity Testing
While it’s smart to buy dietary supplements or nootropic compounds that fit your budget, many nootropic sellers offer deals that are often too good to be true. To make a profit at low prices, companies have been known to cut corners or completely neglect chemical analysis on their products. Impure and mislabeled products has been a rampant problem in the world of dietary supplements and nootropic compounds. Vendors may be knowingly or unknowing offering impure products. In fact, impure dietary supplements or nootropic compounds may contain none of the ingredients listed on the label which could mean lower to no efficacy and/or higher toxicity.
Some of these questionable practices are easy to spot while some, like using questionable methods, are harder for a customer to detect. Common red flags that convey questionable identity and purity testing are vendors that sell their dietary supplements and nootropic compounds without any certifications of analysis (COAs) or falsify their COAs through:
Analysis in Nootropic Depot’s In-House Lab
Identity and purity testing ensures that you’re truly getting the nootropic compounds or dietary supplements you want at a fair price.
Nootropics Depot routinely performs in-house testing on products conducted by a trained, full-time analytical chemist while also partnering with third-parties, to verify the percentages of active ingredients and species of plants used in all dietary supplements or nootropic compounds offered.
To maintain reliable COAs and transparency with our customers, Nootropics Depot:
Matching Nootropics to the Appropriate Analysis Methods
Nootropics can vary wildly through their physical appearance, taste, smell, methods of synthesis/extraction, and chemical profile. Due to their differences, there is not a single analysis protocol that applies to every nootropic compound or dietary supplement. Some factors that need to be considered in choosing the appropriate analysis methods are:
With these considerations in mind, you can determine which methods are appropriate to test your compound.
Developed by Russian botanist Mikhail S. Tswett in the early 1900s, liquid chromatography allowed for the separation of compounds in plants using solvents. In his first applications of liquid chromatography, Tswett filled a glass column with particles, particularly powdered chalk and alumina. He then poured a sample comprising homogenized plant leaves and a pure solvent into the glass column. As the sample passed through the particle matter, it presented different colored bands, essentially separating the individual compounds of the sample based on their chemical attraction to the particles.
Liquid chromatography has since become a significant tool in analytical chemistry with various forms for various applications. HPLC was originally coined by Professor Csaba Horvath in 1970 as high pressure liquid chromatography, defining the use of high pressure to accommodate the sample’s flow in packed columns. The growth of technology allowing for even greater pressures (up to 6,000 pounds per square inch) and smaller particles eventually led to the switch to high performance liquid chromatography.
HPLC allows scientists to separate, identify, and quantify compounds in any sample that can be dissolved in liquid. The ability to use HPLC is determined by numerous characteristics, like the product’s polarity, solubility, isomers, chirality, ionic charge, and particle size.
When HPLC is not an option, other various forms of chromatography can be utilized. These options include:
Chromatography with valid methods and sample preparation can provide important quantitative (identity) and/or qualitative (purity) information.
Understanding Supplementary Analysis
While spectroscopy and chromatography are crucial steps in analysis, there may be other necessary methods of analysis. Understanding and utilizing supplementary analysis tools like melting point, titration, and polarimetry can provide further insight into the identity and purity of a product.
Melting point is an easy, fast, and repeatable method of analysis. Pure compounds have a temperature range in which the solid state of the compound turns into its liquid counterpart. A melting point temperature lower than that range signals an impurity. A melting point temperature higher than the specified range questions the identity of the compound.
Titration uses the volumetric analysis of titrimetry to determine the concentration of a compound in a solution. This quantitative analysis method is useful to determine ionic concentrations, purity, and predict stability (shelf-life) of the compound.
Polarimetry is applicable when the optical activity of a compound is a concern. For example, there are two versions of Theanine. The preferred version of Theanine is L-Theanine rather than D-Theanine. The appropriate method of analysis to determine if the Theanine sample was L-Theanine or D-Theanine would be polarimetry.
Identity and purity testing is a crucial step in navigating the world of nootropic compounds and dietary supplements. Finding a responsible vendor who invests in well-rounded and valid testing is pertinent to your success and safety. Here at Nootropics Depot, we've built up a very sophisticated and capable analytical testing lab, and have spent a lot of time, effort and money ensuring we not only understand the analytical chemistry necessary to properly test things, but have the capabilities and training to be able to properly use the necessary equipment. For analytical methods or machinery that we do not currently possess, we contract out to extremely capable partners like Alkemist Labs and Mérieux NutriSciences, to ensure things are being analyzed using the proper methods, with accurate and repeatable results. We pride ourselves on our efforts to advance the analytical side of the nootropics and supplement market, and we are only getting started. Together we can advance the standards in the entire industry, and ensure that consumers are getting the highest quality products possible.
If you are just getting started, consider trying samples prior to purchasing a full-sized jar as well so that you can find the products that work best for you.