Kappa Bioscience has announced the worldwide launch of a free vitamin K2 MK-7 quality testing program. The program, announced at CPhI India, is open to finished K2 products, from any source, for testing and verification of the product’s K2 label claim. The program supports wider goals of educating markets about K2 stability and advancing K2 science to resolve the question of why unprotected K2 is unstable in mineral formulations.
The offer was first proposed during a September Kappa webinar. The formal launch opens the program to global participation and now includes website support to facilitate submissions. Importantly, testing now includes a process for independent, third-party laboratory verification by region.
The independent verification process ensures credibility of results, Kappa Bioscience notes, going on to say that it provides a model for how the supplements industry can address problems of low-quality ingredients, products that don’t meet label claims and questionable use of data in marketing.
“Stability and label claim testing is common and frequent in the industry and among our customers,” Jim Beakey, Director Marketing, Kappa BioScience AS, tells NutritionInsight. “However, there appears to be a gap in market education regarding the physical properties of unprotected vitamin K2 in certain formulations.”
Beakey adds: “K2 is fat soluble, and like any other fat-soluble vitamin it can degrade in certain formulations. Unprotected K2 MK-7 is particularly susceptible to degradation, especially in formulation with calcium or magnesium. Finished products can miss a label claim. As this becomes more widely known by the market, we are seeing an increased call for data on K2 stability. We propose that the best form of data is independently created or verified data on real, on-the-shelf products. The program was created to make this type of information more accessible.”
Invited to submit samples
Stakeholders for vitamin K2 products are invited to submit samples for no-cost MK-7 testing. Tests are conducted using USP methods and the confidential results are reported only to the test requestor. The first samples were submitted at CPhI India from brands, contract manufacturers and retailers seeking to verify the quality and performance of the K2 in their specific formulations.
“We view independently-validated testing programs as an innovative way to address quality issues in the K2 market, if not the supplements industry as a whole,” says Egil Greve, CEO of Kappa Bioscience.
“Even the purest unprotected K2 can degrade in certain formulations, particularly in mineral formulations,” Greve continues. ”While the K2 industry debates the science of the problem, brands and consumers may bear the consequences by not receiving the promised K2. This program says: ‘Don’t trust our data, or anyone else’s. Trust your own data for your own products.’ We hope to make this easier to do.”
The testing offer is open to companies with a role in the supply chain for a K2 product or an interest in protecting consumers or other stakeholders. Finished products that contain vitamin K2 MK-7 and minerals, particularly calcium or magnesium, will be prioritized. Any K2 product, however, where quality may be in question is eligible for testing, such as cis (inactive) vs. trans (active) testing, vitamin MK-4 labeled as MK-7, and testing of K2 in ingredient form.
The program is managed by independent group company Kappa Chemistry, with validation conducted by globally recognized third-party laboratories in Europe, the US and Australia. While individual test results are confidential to the requestor, aggregate results that exclude brand identifiers will be included in Kappa’s annual K2 Market Study. The 2016 study reported that only 5 percent of unprotected K2-plus-minerals products sold to consumers met the K2 label claim, and a third of K2-only products did not contain any K2 at all.
“K2 is a fast-growing category and this can draw in players that put profits ahead of quality,” says Jörg Büttinghaus, VP of Kappa Sales. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen that it can also pressure reputable players to push the limits of science-bound K2 performance – specifically regarding the inherent instability of unprotected K2 in mineral formulations.’’
‘‘This program will help protect consumers and ensure the healthy development of the K2 industry,” Büttinghaus continues. “Independent data is the best way for a market to address questions about quality and science.”
“Market education and knowledge of how MK-7 performs in formulation is still in early development, and we see this as the main driver of stability problems in finished formulations,” Beakey . “The market can’t fix a problem it does not know about, and it needs credible data to act. We’re making this investment to provide that education and that data.”