To ICP-OES or ICP-MS—that is the question…

Minerals are everywhere–they are in the soil, water, food and are even added to some supplements.  Since minerals are essential to a properly functioning body, an imbalance in our mineral levels may cause health concerns. Supplements are often formulated to contain essential minerals and are cleverly designed to improve health by adding vital nutrients back into the diet. Minerals may also be used to improve the supplement product itself. For instance, adding a mineral to an enzyme blend as a co-factor, enhances the enzyme reaction and improves how the product functions once ingested.

To follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s), manufacturers and brand owners must prove the label claims for the listed ingredients. Testing is the absolute key to verifying an ingredient’s identity and potency. For mineral testing, laboratories often use Ion Coupled Plasma (ICP) equipment, of which two main ICP units are utilized: ICP-OES (Optical Emission Spectroscopy) and ICP-MS (Mass Spectroscopy).

This technology can be confusing for customers, especially when a laboratory utilizes both ICP-OES and ICP-MS testing. Here’s the skinny—the ICP-MS is designed for very low detection limits such as trace elements and unwanted contaminants in products like heavy metals (Arsenic, Cadmium, Mercury and Lead), while the ICP-OES is designed to test higher concentrations of minerals which are listed in microgram or milligram quantities on the label. ICP-MS is also the clear choice when trying to comply with Prop 65 regulations and calculating heavy metals for your recommended daily allowance, as it is necessary to detect low residual levels in parts per million for these calculations.

SORA Labs offers dual functionality for all your heavy metal and mineral testing, as we have both ICP-OES and ICP-MS equipment. In addition, we can take the guesswork out of choosing which testing is best suited for your products—this is our expertise! Our team can assist you with verifying label claims or determining heavy metal levels in your products. Call us for more information today!

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