It is important to know that Health Canada regulates the formulation of natural health products without the obligation to use standardized plant extracts, with the exception of certain plants in particular.

Standardization, also known as normalization, is the use of an active ingredient or marker assay. For certain plants where the precise active ingredient is known, it can be dosed in order to guarantee its presence in sufficient quantity and thus ensure the effectiveness of the product if the formulation is adequate. For example, for ginkgo biloba, these are glucoflavonoids (24% flavone glycosides) and terpene lactones (6%). For this product, there is therefore a double standardization.

For plants where the exact active element is not known, or where several active elements are present, a marker is used which is either a characteristic of the plant itself, or a characteristic of the family of compounds responsible for a therapeutic effect. Standardization also confirms that the desired plant extract is present. It is therefore evident that this is a crucial element for a good quality assurance program.

Highly variable quality

Studies have multiplied in recent years concerning the poor quality of natural health products. We feel it should mentioned here, that the University of Guelph in Ontario (Newmaster et al, 2013) reported that out of 44 natural health products tested, two thirds (30/44) contained plant substitutes or contaminants and two of the products tested contained only rice flour. These are products sold in Canada, approved by Health Canada, with NPNs. This study has of course been widely criticized.

Two other recent studies can be cited which report this form of problem in China and in the Netherlands. In China, Xin et al. (2015) studied products containing rhodiola; 60% of the products evaluated were not even the right plant. In the Netherlands, an analysis by the Ministry of Health (Fransen et al, 2010), concerning products containing Gingko biloba, concluded that 25 of the 29 products tested (86%) were incorrect.

It is for these reasons that all plant extracts used within the formulations of the Vitoli® product line consists of standardized extracts from companies with full traceability in their production. The production of the medicinal plants is done by farmers and the extraction methods are in accordance with the requirements of scientific publications which report the effectiveness of these extracts. These high quality standards not only guarantee the origin, but also the presence of the active ingredients required for the targeted health benefit.

An effective dose

An effective dose is the dose at which one or more quality clinical studies (double-blind clinical studies carried out according to the best quality standards) have made it possible to demonstrate a significant therapeutic effect. For an effect to be considered significant, it must be greater than the placebo effect and correspond to a real benefit for that specific individual.

A common business practice is to highlight a star ingredient and pair it with “decorative” ingredients to create a single formula that is said to be more effective. The “decorative” ingredients, usually in scarce quantities, are clearly below their effective dose to allow a significant benefit.

It is important to highlight that the pharmacokinetics of the active ingredients is not cumulative. Thus, an ingredient present at 30% of its effective dose cannot be supplemented by another ingredient at 70% of its effective dose. The effective dose is applicable to each ingredient that should play a role in the formulation; otherwise it is simply a question of marketing tactics.

The Vitoli ® product line does not contribute to these marketing embellishments. All the plant extracts used for the formulations of the Vitoli ® product line are standardized extracts and they are used at an effective dose for each ingredient.

More concentrated ingredients to reduce the number of capsules

Vitoli products use more concentrated ingredients so as to reduce the amount of non-medicinal plant elements and therefore reduces the number of capsules required. Thus, the value of a quality product should not be established by the number of capsules in the bottle. For example, each capsule of Vitoli® Healthy Aging is the equivalent to 46 capsules of non-concentrated plant extract. A jar of 30 capsules is therefore the equivalent to 1380 capsules.

The most important thing is to note is that without this high quality concentration of active ingredients used by the Vitoli® product line, it would be impossible to take enough capsules per day to achieve the targeted benefits (46 capsules per day!).

Quality production facilities and independent analysis

In addition to finely selecting all the suppliers for the ingredients, Idunn Technologies has Vitoli® products produced in Quebec, in a factory with its pharmaceutical production license. Quality control analyses are performed by a second independent pharmaceutical company to ensure that there is no manipulation within the results to release a batch that does not meet the established quality standards. These are the highest standards within the industry.

A specialized company, active in research

The last important point to consider when choosing a quality product is; who is the company behind it? It is recommended to avoid products from which the producing company is not well identified. In addition, companies specializing in their field are able to formulate specific products. It is not enough to use quality ingredients in the right quantities, it is also necessary to use the right ingredients for the right reasons. Vitoli® products use the ingredients with the most scientific support for each application, always taking into account the specific needs of healthy aging. Ask for Vitoli quality.