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Nuclear Magnetic Resonance: The Power of Non-Targeted vs. Targeted Testing

Targeted and non-targeted testing are two different approaches used in the analysis of the growing health supplements and nutraceutical industries. The choice of testing methodology can depend on the certainty (or lack) of the ingredients and their sources.

Targeted testing for ingredients is a method of testing that is used to identify and quantify specific ingredients in a sample. This approach involves focusing on compounds or classes of compounds that are of interest and using analytical techniques to detect and measure their presence. Non-targeted testing, on the other hand, involves analyzing the chemical profile of a sample without prior knowledge or confirmation of what might be present.

Targeted testing validates ingredients that we assume are in a product or formula (pre-defined targets). But what about ingredients we don’t know about? The health supplements market is growing rapidly and often requiring businesses to find alternative sources of supply. In an industry where the regulations are inadequately enforced, unscrupulous manufacturers can bring to market many products that are not what they say they are.

For testing requirements that meet current industry challenges, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy is a powerful non-targeted analytical technique that has become increasingly important in the fields of chemistry, biology, and medicine. Non-targeted testing using NMR can be used to identify and quantify everything in a product including the active compounds, as well as impurities and contaminants.

While targeted testing is useful for routine quality control and the identification of specific compounds, non-targeted testing has several benefits that make it essential for analyzing complex natural products. Here is a summary of the benefits:

  • Non-targeted testing takes a holistic approach to sample analysis, considering all the compounds present in the sample, rather than focusing on a specific compound or class of compounds.
  • Non-targeted testing provides a more comprehensive analysis of the sample, identifying all compounds present, including unexpected or unknown compounds.
  • Non-targeted testing can identify novel compounds or adulterants that have not been previously known or considered. This can provide insights into potential new health benefits or risks associated with the product.
  • Non-targeted testing can provide insights into the metabolic pathways of products, giving scientists a better understanding of the mechanisms of action of these compounds.

NMR analysis can provide greater insights into product quality at a time when the industry needs it. Want to learn more? Visit Our Science page.

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