Handbook of Analytical Methods for Dietary Supplements, 1/e, by Frank Jaksch, ISBN-10: 1582120552, ISBN-13: 9781582120553

Reviewed by: Dr. Angelica Fargas-Babjak MD, FRCPC, CAFCI, Dec-05
Published by: McGraw-Hill Professional
Requires: N/A
MSRP: $239.35

The Handbook of Analytical Methods for Dietary Supplements is a unique and convenient reference source that provides a starting point for laboratories to develop and validate analytical testing methods for dietary supplements. There is far too little literature on this subject and very few reliable standards on which to base qualitative decisions. Consumers are waiting patiently at the other end of the product development and testing cycle right now, with unfortunately little to rely on in the way of standards that can be carried from brand to brand during comparison shopping. Similarly, MDs, Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists and other practitioners have little to go on in the way of reliable information with respect to how safe it is to recommend any particular product.

In the United States, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 defines dietary supplements as any product (except tobacco) containing at least one of the following: vitamin, mineral, herb or botanical, amino acid, or any dietary substance used to supplement diet, including concentrates, metabolites, constituents or extracts. Fortunately in recent years, the fast pace at which these products enter the marketplace has led the general public and orgnizations such as Consumers Union to question the quality, consistency and safety of dietary supplements.


The mass media outlets have for the past 5 years gradually reinforced that doubt through reports suggesting that many dietary supplements do not actually contain the ingredients or the ingredient quantities listed on the their labels. These reports, while well intentioned, sometimes create confusion among consumers about which manufacturers are credible and which products are suitable for use. The need here is for a comprehensive volume on all of the products available in the marketplace.

Handbook of Analytical Methods for Dietary Supplements is a 215 page library published by the American Pharmacists Association. It contains an extensive set of product monographs, details of sampling of methods along with appropriate validation data, if known, about the most common supplements in the market place today.

The book is comprehensive enough in its first edition to also include 85 analytical monographs. Each monograph follows a standard format for quick reference which includes:

  • Description of the product’s purpose or use
  • Method of action (if known)
  • Marker compounds that are commonly assayed
  • Discussion of variation in species when there are several species of importance
  • Relevant literature
  • Important validation data
  • Dietary ingredients also include the botanical name, the common name, the part of the plant used and its uses

Included are the methods of analysis, reference standards and/or marker compounds used as well as validation data, (if available), are included as well as the references.

The book is not intended to give a comprehensive overview for all dietary supplements, however, it is a very useful reference for analytical and medicinal chemists, research and development scientists, quality control personnel, pharmacognosists, academicians and students. It stands as a solid resource of reference standards for vitamins, dietary supplements, and botanicals.

This book is a state of the art compilation that provides current methods and validation data and is a greatly needed addition to improving the overall quality of testing standards for dietary supplements in laboratories around the world.

Dietary supplement potency, efficacy and purity are all factors that professional and non-professional practitioners alike have traditionally often gleaned through trial & error with various brands. The dietary supplement industry is surely facing serious legislative controls in a variety of marketplaces unless it starts to govern itself through reliably consistent, self-imposed standards embraced by the entire industry. NSF International, U.S. Pharmacopeia and many other organizations are working hard to develop reliable standards which can be embraced by a responsible dietary supplement industry. Despite repeated U.S. congressional defeats of various dietary supplement industry regulatory bills in recent years, there are enough concerned scientists out there to put together a publication of this nature. I highly recommend this book to any lab that provides testing for dietary supplement manufacturing and to any dietary supplement manufacturer that is interested in implementing best practices.





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