The concept of quality, referring to food supplements, is often associated exclusively with the so-called "company quality system", or the set of activities and procedures designed to ensure control and traceability during all stages of industrial production.
Unfortunately, interpreting quality in the strict sense turns out to be reductive since, although the aforementioned procedures are fundamental, they are not sufficient to guarantee a high product quality that is also obtained thanks to a deep knowledge of this complex matter. Quality is a concept that, even in relation to the nutraceutical world, has a multifaceted value; we can, indeed we should speak of formulation quality, quality relating to product development, quality of the supply chain of raw materials (including packaging) and obviously also of production quality.
Often these issues, which may seem obvious at first glance, are disregarded or not considered, because they are overwhelmed by production or commercial logics that effectively annihilate the starting idea behind the creation of a product. Quality is therefore an interdisciplinary concept that must be pursued from the early stages of product design, from the choice of raw materials to the scientific criteria on which to base the rational formulation up to the dosages of the active ingredients that must be consistent with the nutritional and / or physiological pre-established. If this is not considered, there will be more and more products containing biologically active substances but in quantities that are increasingly distant from the scientific studies that literature offers us. In these cases, even the application of the most stringent GMPs appears to be inadequate for the purpose of placing a quality product on the market.
The development phase also requires particular attention as, if not carried out correctly, it risks compromising the quality of a formulation; the choice of excipients is a fundamental step in the creation of a quality product because it is able to vary fundamental parameters of the formulation such as palatability, which for certain dosage forms can increase or decrease compliance, or stability and therefore shelf life of a product. With development it is in fact necessary to make the formulation industrializable but also to prevent, through careful evaluation, any negative interactions between the components, as well as any synergistic effects must be taken into due consideration.
Obviously, what has been described above is not yet sufficient for the success of a good product; even the production and technological aspects are fundamental and the company know-how can in many cases make the difference. Without some precautions we can witness, for example, a degradation of raw materials in the production phase because some aspects related to the chemical and physical parameters of the substances are not evaluated, such as the thermolability of some active ingredients that degrade even only by the heat developed by the friction caused by a mixer.
Even with these few examples, the complexity of the "integrating universe" is evident and how a deep multidisciplinary knowledge is essential for the design and implementation of a product that can be as effective as possible and therefore commercially successful.