Paper connects dots for successful supplement studies

The article was published last month in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition​.  It is the work of a team of researchers from Louisiana State University and Rutgers University and included input from Bill Gurley, PhD, of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi.

The researchers used previous studies they had done on an ethanolic extract of the culinary herb tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus​ L.) that was termed PMI-5011 as a case study of sorts.  By extrapolating from their experience researching that extract’s effect on glucose homeostasis they were able to put together a road map to help other researchers to conduct studies that avoid some of the more common pitfalls and yield useful data.

Studies of pharmaceuticals avoid some of these potential errors by way of rigid study design.  The research material must of course be very tightly characterized both from a safety and intellectual property perspective.  Pharmacokinetic studies and preclinical work must be done in a way to satisfy investors who are putting up millions of dollars in funding and will need to be encouraged to put up more to bring the eventual drug to market.

Proper characterization of study material

Studies on dietary supplement ingredients, by contrast, are sometimes done in a more casual manner.  Some researchers who are less familiar with the supply arrangements in the industry might in good faith choose a study material with a chemical profile that is not ideally suited to their study design, even if it has the name of the botanical they’re looking for on the label.