Enzyme Testing in Finished Products

SORA Labs is an excellent source in the dietary supplement industry for insight on enzyme activity. We have been testing enzyme matrices for many years and are one of the only labs in the U.S. with enzyme assays on our ISO 17025:2005 scope of accreditation. One question we commonly receive is if it’s possible to test enzyme activities in finished products containing an enzyme blend. The answer…YES! We can test enzymes in finished products; however, like almost all analyses, it is not as straight forward as raw material. During our many years of experience in enzyme blend analysis, we have noticed the following phenomenon:

1) Combined Protease Effect: Occurs when different proteases are in the same blend. In essence, they help each other out and boost all protease activities—this is known as “side activities.”

2) Enzyme/Enzyme Interference: Enzymes are used to break down various substances. In enzyme blends, we often see the enzymes working against or breaking down each other. This is very common when high protease activity is blended with lactase. Lactase often falls below label claims because of the proteases acting on/or digesting the lactase.

3) Co-Ingredient Interference: Many times co-ingredients (Betaine HCl, Lemongrass, Calcium Carbonate, etc.) affect the pH of the entire mixture. Many enzyme assays are pH based and the varied pH can provide results that are not the most accurate representation of your product.

Testing raw materials can eliminate the risk of side activities or interferences, which can result in skewed results. Testing your raw materials is recommended to ensure you are putting only the highest quality ingredients in your product, and this should be followed with testing of your finished product. Most enzymes will test close to label claim; however, finished product testing will provide an accurate representation of the activities that are seen in your product, rather than activities that have been calculated by input.

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