The Importance of Vitamin Testing
In recent years, with the rise in awareness around well-being and fitness, consumers eat healthier and make food choices based on nutritional benefits. In response, food companies have changed how products are marketed and promoted. This shift makes testing food products for vitamins an increasingly important consideration. In Vitamin D’s case, testing isn’t only important; it’s required to meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) food labeling and nutrition standards. It is important to understand why vitamin testing is so necessary and what methods are available.
Medallion Labs has more than 50 years of food testing experience and is here to help answer any questions you have about vitamin testing. Our food testing lab currently offers 16 vitamin tests to account for various analysis needs and types of vitamins.
Now, let's discuss some of the most commonly asked questions about vitamin testing.
Why Test When You Can Look at the Formulation?
One might think a food producer could rely on a product’s formulation to determine the vitamin content. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Vitamins are susceptible to degradation, meaning that the levels in the food’s formulation may not be the same as what is present in the final product. Factors including processing and storage can impact vitamin levels. Therefore, analytical methods must be used to test for vitamins. It’s the only way to know if, and to what extent, degradation has impacted the final value.
While formulation should not be used to determine vitamin content, it can be beneficial when submitting a sample for testing. The formulation can be used to estimate the expected value of a vitamin in the finished product. The concentration of the vitamins in your sample can impact the test method required to generate accurate, reportable results. Providing an estimate reduces questions from the lab and helps to eliminate delays.
Do I Need to Test Vitamins for Daily Percentage?
To answer this question, we first need to understand what daily percentage is and how it’s determined.
For each vitamin, the FDA recommends a certain amount be present in one’s everyday diet. This number is called “daily value.” The daily percentage is how much a single serving of food product contributes to the daily value.
For example, if you need 100 micrograms of a vitamin, and a single serving of a food product provides 20 micrograms, it delivers 20% of the recommended daily amount. To achieve 100% of the daily value, a person would need to consume five servings of that food product to achieve a 100 microgram total. Of course, most people get their total daily value from several food products. The goal for the consumer is to achieve 100% of the daily value each day.
To make it easier for the consumers to understand, the FDA requires the daily percentage per serving size listed on the nutritional label. However, statements can be added about vitamin content elsewhere on the packaging as a selling point. Medallion Labs offers a variety of test methods that will provide accurate results. If you have questions about label claims, we recommend working with a food consultant to ensure you meet labeling requirements.
What Vitamin Tests Does Medallion Labs Offer?
Medallion Labs offers 16 vitamin tests. These are all standardized tests conducted with the highest commitment to delivering accurate results. Our labs have established a reputation for quality, fast, and affordable food testing.
Which Vitamins Are Lab Tested?
Our selection of testing options includes:
- Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene) Test
- Vitamin A (Retinol) Test
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) Test
- Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) Test
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Test
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Test
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic) Test
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Test
- Vitamin B9 – Folates DFE (Dietary Folate Equivalents) Test
- Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid – LC/MS) – Test
- Vitamin B9 (Total Folates – Microbial Method) Test
- Vitamin C Test
- Vitamin D Test
- Vitamin E (Natural Source and Synthetic Source) Test
- Vitamin K Test
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What Should I Know About Different Vitamin Tests?
Most vitamin tests are relatively straightforward, although some have multiple available methods. Which testing approach is right for you? We’ll provide a few quick insights.
The test method selection for Vitamin A is dependent on the source (Retinol or Beta-carotene). When submitting samples for testing, you will need to let us know which Vitamin A method you require. If you have Vitamin A sources from both Retinol and Beta-carotene, you may need to run both tests to get the total Vitamin A from all sources.
Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A and is typically found in ingredients sourced from animals. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that helps improve vision, boost immunity, and much more.
Beta-Carotene is an organic, intensely colored red-orange pigment abundant in fungi, plants, and fruits.
Medallion Labs has two available test methods to detect Vitamin B9, depending on the source. We use the liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS) method to determine folic acid, and we use the microbiological method to determine total folates.
The liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS) method is known as the Folic Acid Test and is used to detect synthetic sources of Vitamin B9 and reports 5-Methyl Tetrahydrofolate (or methylfolate) and total folic acid.
The microbiological method is known as the Total Folates Test and is used to detect natural sources of Vitamin B9. This test reports as total folates.
Dietary folate equivalents (DFE) are calculated using both Vitamin B9 methods (Folic Acid and Total Folates). If you are going to put this on the label, the newest FDA labeling regulations require you to report it as dietary folate equivalents, which requires both methods. If your product has multiple sources of B9, running both tests may be necessary.
Vitamin D is the only vitamin required to be listed under FDA nutritional labeling guidelines. Medallion Labs testing quantifies the value for D3, which is the most common source. Interestingly, vegan products require D2 because it is sourced from plants rather than animals. If you have Vitamin D2 in your sample, we can facilitate this testing through one of our trusted third-party labs.
Medallion Labs offers a standard Vitamin E test as well as a test to quantify Tocopherols and Tocotrienols. When requesting Vitamin E testing, we will need you to state the source (natural or synthetic) in your product. If you want to add Tocopherols/Tocotrienols to your product label, we offer another method. The Tocopherols/Tocotrienols Test reports:
- Total tocopherols
Tocopherols can be used as a preservative. Testing using this method could be beneficial if you are interested in understanding the stability of your product.
Testing Food Products for Vitamins at Medallion Labs
Like all food product testing, vitamin testing must be conducted by experts adhering to the highest quality standards to arrive at accurate results. Medallion Labs takes great pride in our vitamin testing capabilities. We acknowledge the importance of understanding your food product’s nutritional value and any vitamin content. This is particularly true if you are selling to health-conscious consumers.
Medallion Labs is here to serve your food testing needs today with accurate and reliable results. We suggest you always refer to our tech data sheets and online order form for the latest details. Our breadth of testing options helps you maximize your testing budget by providing the results you seek in a cost-efficient manner.
Medallion Labs is ready to use our testing options, expertise, and skills for your testing needs. Connect with us or call 1-800-245-5615 to discuss the criteria and testing needs for your food products.