Image of spoon with different health supplement capsules with a background of fruits and vegetables.

What is Extraction Ratio and Supplement Formulation?

Writer: Wan SofaSyifa
Reviewed by: Fenny Lim, BSc. (Hons) Nutrition, UKM

Buying the “right” dietary supplements can be a challenge – especially when you want to get your money’s worth. The labels alone can be confusing with words such as extraction ratio and supplement formulation. What do they really mean, and should you care about them? Let’s dive into the bare basics of dietary supplements.

What is the Definition of Dietary Supplement?

The dietary supplement definition is quite broad – it refers to any products intended to supplement your diet but should not be treated as an alternative to medication [1]. The supplement formulation and a low or high extraction ratio vary depending on the brand. Both the supplement formulation and extraction ratio affect how effective the supplement is.

What is an Extraction Ratio?

The term extraction ratio used by the supplement industry differs from that used in medicine and drug pharmaceuticals. For one, in drug pharmaceuticals, the extraction ratio refers to the fraction of the drug presented to the liver for elimination [2]. For supplements, this term refers to the degree of raw ingredients extraction. The extraction ratio of an ingredient is typically defined during the extraction process, and the final ratio is the end result of the whole process – including encapsulation [3]

Why is a High Extraction Ratio Better?

Supplements boasting a high extraction ratio are better because they have more active ingredients and smaller molecules for better absorption. Since you take dietary supplements orally, any capsules, pills, or powders must go through the digestive system.

The main challenge of oral intake, in general, is when your dietary supplement reaches the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Your dietary supplements must be able to withstand stomach acid and able to pass to the small intestine, where nutrient absorption happens.

If your supplement has a low extraction ratio, your body may not absorb all the nutrients due to the large molecule size. They might have challenges to pass through the intestinal wall. You will not get the full benefit of your supplements when this happens.

What is a Supplement Formulation?

Supplement formulation is how the ingredients inside your dietary supplements are selected, refined, and processed to give you the best results. This is what sets brands apart from one another. A high-quality dietary supplement will have a robust formulation that considers the supplement’s ingredients, quality, purity, dosage, and bioavailability.

What are the “Right” Supplement Ingredients?

There is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to the supplement ingredients, but there are generally two ways supplement brands will formulate their ingredients;

  • Science-based
  • Fad-based

Science-based ingredients formulation is when a dietary supplement brand chooses its ingredients based on clinically proven and widely researched ingredients. 

Fad-based ingredients formulation is when a dietary supplement brand chooses its ingredients based on what is currently “in trend.” It might not be widely researched yet or clinically proven [4]

Some dietary supplement brands cross these two categories, but it is rare since, typically, new and trendy ingredients have not been deeply researched yet. Like other reliable dietary supplement brands, we combine evergreen ingredients with newly proven ingredients when formulating our supplement ingredients.

How do You Judge a High-quality, High-purity Supplement?

One of the easiest ways to judge a supplement’s quality is whether or not it adheres to the current Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Dietary supplement brands awarded GMP certification source the highest quality raw ingredients, have a clear processing method, and disciplined manufacturing process. Based on this certification, you can also generally judge the purity of your supplement ingredients [5]

For our CellLabs® Sheep Placenta and Deer Placenta Line, you can judge the purity of the ingredient based on its extraction ratio. Take our CellLabs® Sheep Placenta CLASSaaNTA, for example. It has an extraction ratio of 120:1, the highest permissible ratio for sheep placenta. This means that it has the purest fresh sheep placenta extract with the smallest molecule for the fastest absorption. 

All our products are also certified with GMP, GSP (Good Storage Practice), GDP (Good Distribution Practice), and more.

How do You Choose the Optimum Dosage?

 You might see intake directions such as “take 2 – 4 capsules daily,” but how do you know it’s the optimal dosage? Generally, the highest recommended intake is the optimal dosage, and the minimum is the least dosage that may give you any results. 

Most dietary supplements choose to go this route because the dosage regulation for dietary supplements generally relies on Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), Adequate Intake (AI), and Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). An optimal dosage considers the RDA, AI, UL, and extraction ratio.

Our CellLabs® Sheep Placenta CLASSaaNTA’s optimal dosage is only one (1) capsule daily due to its high extraction ratio of 120:1 and net weight of 250mg. Its single capsule is equivalent to 30,000mg of fresh sheep placenta – the optimal dosage based on RDA, AI, and UL. 

You can generally find out the optimum dosage of a supplement on the brand’s website or refer to your pharmacist and nutritionist. Be mindful that optimum dosage makes or breaks your dietary supplement intake. Take too little, and you will not get any effect. Take too much, you might overdose. 

It’s best to follow the intake directions carefully to get the most out of your dietary supplements.

What is Bioavailability?

In layman’s terms, bioavailability is how compatible an ingredient is with your body. An ingredient with high bioavailability absorbs faster, better, and gives better results. Unfortunately, it is very rare for this information to be readily available in most dietary supplements. 

Some brands may provide this information on their official website, but the easiest way is to do your own research. Search for information about the ingredients shown on the dietary supplement labels. Sheep placenta, for example, has a high bioavailability and is one of the reasons why we chose this ingredient to formulate our premium anti-aging products.

CellLabs®Carefully Crafted Formulation with High Extraction Ratio

As a company that has been around since 2004, our team takes great pride and care in our product formulation. While we understand that trendy ingredients make waves, we prefer to take the more difficult and sometimes less popular route of using clinically proven, research-based ingredients. 

Aside from our sheep and deer placenta line, we also have a formulation based on the Mediterranean Diet with a 6000 ORAC value and widely researched, high CFU probiotics. Just take a quick look at our product catalog to find out more.

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