The process starts with a supplement company deciding to develop a new product. It could be a single substance (for example, a zinc orotate) supplement, or a formulation combining various compounds (such as a synergistic formula for the hair). The aim is to create a supplement that responds to a particular health or aesthetic concern, introduce a substance to the market which has been requested by customers, etc.
At SuperSmart, the final concept is the result of discussions between management, the scientific director and the procurement manager. The decisions taken are always based on the very latest scientific studies (tests, clinical trials …). Raw materials and doses are chosen for their ability to deliver powerful effects and optimal safety.
Once a concept has been ‘given the green light’, the company contacts one of its manufacturing laboratories to get the production process underway, starting with the encapsulation of the raw materials selected.
Let’s focus for a moment on the base materials used in supplements. These raw materials are provided by two types of supplier: the manufacturers direct or distributors (who are usually able to offer larger volumes). Origin, purity, method of collection, bioavailability ... - all these criteria are considered by SuperSmart.
These raw materials include vitamins, minerals, probiotic micro-organisms, etc. Commercial vitamin C, for example, is usually obtained from corn or wheat, the starch of which is converted into glucose. From this comes sorbitol which is itself converted into diacetone-2-keto-L-gulonic acid, re-structured to produce the well-known vitamin. Finally, the vitamin C is purified by recrystallisation.
When it comes to plants, there are two kinds of raw material - powders and extracts. With the first, the plant is dried and pulverised to produce a sievable powder. With the second, the active principles are extracted by macerating the plant (steeping it in a solvent). The solvent is then removed from the liquid extract by drying, resulting in the dry extract proper (1). SuperSmart primarily uses extracts as they offer the important advantage of being able to be titrated, which means the precise amount of active principles can be continually measured and adjusted: our ginseng extract, for example, is standardized to 30% ginsenosides. With titration, we can ensure the amount of ginsenosides remains consistent across all batches.
As mentioned, the manufacturing laboratory is responsible for putting these raw materials into capsules (with the aid of an encapsulator) or making them into tablets (using a compression machine). For this, the raw materials are normally combined with excipients.
Excipients can fulfilll several roles: they can make it easier to fill the capsules in the machines, act as support for the nutrients, solubilize a hydrophobic substance in a solution, preserve the active principle for longer ... SuperSmart always uses natural excipients (acacia gum, rice flour …) and whenever possible, no excipients at all.
Some supplements are also delivered in gastro-resistant capsules (such as DRCaps™, used for many probiotics - this type of capsule optimizes the microorganisms’ survival as far as the gut) (2).
The content of a supplement is, of course, rigorously analyzed throughout the production process and each product is given a certificate of analysis (which is always available on the SuperSmart product description page).
The laboratory then places the capsules or tablets in blister packs or containers which are labeled, sealed and packaged before being dispatched to a specific warehouse - a hub for various manufacturing laboratories. The new supplements can now be marketed on the Internet or in retail outlets.
For on-line supplement companies, it just remains to upload the detailed product sheet to their website. Customers can then place and receive their order, and benefit from the positive health effects of their newly-developed supplement.
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