New Methods of Analysis for Contaminants of Grapefruit Seed Extract

The American Botanical Council (ABC) announced last week a release of a laboratory guidance document1 on grapefruit (citrus paradisi) seed extract (GFSE). This document is one of the many results from ABC’s Botanical Adulterants Program, which aims to inform and monitor the contamination of botanically derived medicines, supplements and extracts.

Synthetic Antimicrobial Compounds

There is concern about the adulteration of GFSE with synthetic antimicrobial compounds. In March 2017, ABC published evidence illuminating this concern.2 The Laboratory Guidance Document (LGD) is a review of laboratory analytical methods currently available to identify these synthetic antimicrobial compounds in labeled GFSE products. ABC points out that GFSE has no historical use in traditional herbal medicine, but is a product marketed as a dietary supplement and commonly used by the natural health community and profession.

Multiple Analytical Methods Needed for Testing Contaminants

Multiple analytical methods are needed to test for contaminants because these compounds change from various batches, and manufacturers. This changing nature of the compounds makes it hard to choose one analytical method. The analyses which are outlined in the LGD include: high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with ultraviolet (HPLC-UV) or mass spectrometric (HPLC-MS) detection, thin-layer chromatography (TLC), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry.

The previous reviews on synthetic antimicrobials in GFSE, as well as this LGD, have been written by John Cardellina, PhD, chief technical consultant and associate editor of the Botanical Adulterants Program. This is a peer-reviewed document and is intended to add to the quality control of commonly utilized natural products.

  1. Laboratory Guidance Document
  2. Adulterants Review

Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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