Folic acid (or folate) is vitamin B9, a water-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in DNA and RNA synthesis, red blood cell production, the metabolism of proteins, and healthy genetic expression. BioFolate contains L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), the active form of folate that is used in the body.
Folate deficiency can cause a number of health problems, of which the most documented is neural tube defects in developing infants. Symptoms of folate deficiency include: weakness, fatigue, irritability, headaches, difficulties in cognitive function, mood imbalances, cramps, palpitations, shortness of breath, and can lead to more serious health problems.
Certain medical conditions can actually lead to secondary folate deficiencies through decreased absorption or an increase in the body’s demand for folate. These include alcoholism, Crohn’s disease, lymphoma or amyloidosis of the small intestine, diabetic enteropathy, gluten sensitivity, sickle cell disease, chronic exfoliative skin disorders and of course, pregnancy. Additionally, a large percentage of the population has a certain gene mutation called MTHFR which renders them unable to convert dietary folate into the biologically active form, leading to folate deficiency.
Taking folate in the form of L-5-MTHF ensures that even those with the MTHFR mutation are able to absorb the folate and avoid deficiency. BioFolate also contains a small amount of vitamin B12 in the active form of methylcobalamin, since folate supplementation can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The AOR Mission
The mission at AOR is dedicated to providing unrivalled innovation and unmatched quality in natural health products to its valued and discerning customers. AOR is committed to researching the best that science and nature have to offer. By delivering the “right amount of the right ingredients to the right place at the right time,” AOR offers its customers a unique and truly orthomolecular approach to personalized nutrition for the future.
Who is AOR?
Advanced Orthomolecular Research (AOR), a Canadian-based company with headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, has an established reputation in Canada as the most advanced supplement formulator in the country and likely, the world. AOR endeavors to bring something new to the Canadian supplement world: not just new supplements, but a new spirit, with the pillars of Innovative Research, Scientific Integrity, Quality Manufacturing, and Consumer Education. “Orthomolecule” is a term coined by Linus Pauling, who is the founder of orthomolecular medicine. Orthomolecular refers to “the right amount of the right substances delivered to the right place in the body at the right time.”
AOR’s goals are to provide innovative products that may have not yet reached the mainstream market, to provide superior products to those already on the market, and to deliver those products in their most effective forms and doses. AOR strives to source novel ingredients, develop delivery technologies that are rare or unheard of in the supplement industry, and to educate consumers on the facts and myths of natural health products so that consumers can make educated decisions about their health.
The AOR Facilities
AOR’s facility is designed from the ground up specifically with providing the safest, purest, high quality products in mind. Some of the most advanced equipment available can be found in our labs, giving us the ability to innovate and progress beyond the norm in the natural health product industry. Collaboration with universities around North America and renowned companies all over the world puts AOR on the cutting-edge of research breakthroughs and delivery technology advances.
Scientific integrity and innovation have been central to the AOR philosophy since its foundation. AOR’s origins lie in the pharmacy of the organization’s Research Director, Dr. Traj Nibber, when he was contacted by People With AIDS (PWA) advocacy groups searching for a source of hard-to-find formulations for AIDS buyers’ groups. His initial surprise at the lack of access to these nutritional supplements soon turned to empathic frustration, as he realized how many people were suffering from the failure of the dietary supplement industry to make available nutrients whose role in health were well-established by rigorous scientific investigation – and the simultaneous willingness of the same companies to promote supplements on the basis of only the most flimsy of evidence.
Dr. Nibber found a supplement industry which refused to evaluate new evidence or to hold their existing lines up to the light of clear standards of evidence; which was happy to keep selling yesterday’s products when a superior, innovative supplement was better-documented by research. He also found that most companies were unwilling to develop genuinely novel orthomolecular interventions, preferring to respond passively to the marketing of supplement raw materials – new or old – by their suppliers. He also found that the industry was too willing to be cowed by government regulators and by bureaucratic red tape, and to skimp on quality control to lower prices even at the expense of clinical efficacy.
At first, Dr. Nibber simply sourced and compounded the specific formulations needed by his PWA contacts. Later, as word of Dr. Nibber’s helpfulness spread and the need for his services expanded, Dr. Nibber began to develop standardized formulas that could be manufactured on a larger scale by contract manufacturers. As his contacts with global pharmaceutical and natural health product suppliers expanded and as he began to immerse himself more in the literature on nutritional factors in health, he began to develop formulations of his own and to launch new natural health products into a wider audience of health-conscious individuals, life extension radicals, and health practitioners seeking a new generation of more effective natural solutions to the chronic health concerns of their patients.
- 1993– Glucosamine Sulfate – First in Canada
- 1996– Pantethine – First in Canada
- 1998– D-Ribose – First in World
- 1999– R Lipoic Acid – First in World
- 2000– SAMe – First in Canada
- 2001– Benfotiamine – First in North America
- 2002– Strontium Citrate – First in World
- 2005– Sustained Release R Lipoic Acid – First in World
- 2007– Oxaloacetate (benaGene) – First in World
- 2009– Curcumin nanoparticles – First in World
- 2011– Longvida Curcumin – First in Canada
- 2011 – nanoVAILABLE Boswellia – First in World
- 2012– NOx3,2,1 Technology – First in World
- AOR released Canada’s first defined pollen extract for prostate health (Prostaphil-2), the only supplement documented in clinical trials to directly affect prostate structure by reducing the volume of the gland itself, rather than simply relieving symptoms as with saw palmetto and other conventional prostate herbals.
- AOR was the first company to bring a geniunely complete E-complex supplement in the form of “Total E” including balanced amounts of all 8 tocopherols and tocotrienols.
- AOR’s influence has extended well beyond Canada’s borders. AOR products are also available in the United States and in the UK.
- AOR brought the world its first R( )-Lipoic Acid supplements, containing the genuine orthomolecular form rather than the racemic hybrid of natural R( )- and synthetic S(-)-enantiomers found in conventional “lipoic acid” or “alpha-lipoic acid” supplements.
- AOR brought forward North America and Europe’s first Menatetrenone, or MK-4 (under the name Peak K2), the mammalian-specific vitamer form of vitamin K2, documented to support bone health in multiple clinical trials and registered as a “drug” for osteoporosis in Japan.
- Benfotiamine, a derivative of thiamine long used clinically in Germany to relieve the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, has more recently been documented to reduce the burden of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). As experimental evidence came in to support its ability to maintain healthy protein structure in the nerves, retina, and kidneys in the face of a sugar-loaded assault, AOR became the first North American supplier of this key nutraceutical.
- AOR was first in the world to deliver the revolutionary bone health mineral Strontium at a clinically-tested dose.
- Products and dosages that reflect those used in high-quality research
- Biologically active forms of ingredients
- Multi-ingredient products that are carefully formulated with regards to balanced dosages and synergism
- Dosage, compatibility, stability and mechanism of action are all taken into consideration
- Avoidance of the marketing game involving competitions for the longest list of ingredients at the highest doses possible
- Both the best science and the best motivations that compel AOR to continue examining research and questioning the market’s common formulation clichés
AOR Quality Commitment: Excellence in Quality Control
In the regulatory vacuum of the North American dietary supplement industry, quality control has always been a concern. In the USA, dietary supplements are barely regulated, and anything can be sold without much in the way of safety analysis before putting it on the market. In Canada, however, formal regulatory requirements for the manufacture of dietary supplements have been issued by the new Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD), using GMPs which are modeled standards established for use in pharmaceutical labs. AOR has received its site license from Health Canada, and operates its facilities under standards created to meet or exceed the statutory requirements laid out under the new regulations. In addition, AOR implements a process of self-imposed quality control, creating internal standard operating procedures that were modeled on those of the pharmaceutical industry for purity and rigor.
Since pharmaceuticals are considered to be potentially more dangerous, pharmaceuticals require strict purity testing procedures and results and rigorous manufacturing standards that range from cleanliness of the working area and the equipment used, to facility design to minimize contamination, to testing for identity, active ingredients (potency), purity, solvent residue, heavy metal contamination and microbial contamination. As such, pharmaceutically synthesized products actually tend to have few to no contaminants and unknown ingredients compared to naturally sourced herbs. Pharmaceutical protocols demand that all variables are controlled. In Canada, the NHPD is moving towards enforcing such rigorous testing of natural health products, which improves their safety and efficacy. However, AOR exceeds these standards in material testing, and the facility design and the manufacturing procedures are more rigorous than the norm in the natural health product industry.
Certificates of Analysis Required For All Suppliers
A Certificate of Analysis is obtained from all suppliers attesting to the identity, potency, extraction information, allergen content and other handling information for each raw material. All AOR products and raw materials are subject to a regular and ongoing process of third-party analysis by independent analytical laboratories to ensure purity and potency. The most appropriate available assay technique is always used for analysis of active ingredients and detection of contaminants, in consultation with internal Quality Control staff and external technicians and experts.
For most analytes, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is the preferred technology. Heavy metal and microbial contamination are also regularly tested in raw materials. When raw materials appear to be different than previous batches, they are sent for additional testing to affirm their potency. Of course, because AOR does not believe in adding masking agents and colours to make natural products look the same since their natural characteristics can change based on environmental factors, products may sometimes vary in the way they appear. But rest assured, AOR’s testing is some of the strictest in the industry, so you can be sure you are getting the high quality products that you expect.
Health-conscious individuals, radical life-extensionists, and health practitioners who incorporate orthomolecules and botanicals into their practice often work in new territory, outside of the bounds acknowledged by the medical establishment. To make judgements on which supplements will best support their health, individuals and their health care providers need clear, science-based literature to document a supplement’s benefits. Unfortunately, is far too common in the supplement industry to see wild claims made with no documentation, and product literature which is vague to the point of being void of meaning or which is written with assumptions about the reader’s intelligence which are frankly insulting.
AOR has always distinguished itself by providing high-quality literature to support its advanced formulations. Indeed, AOR recognizes that they have a special duty to provide research summaries that are both scientifically accurate and readily understood by practitioners and educated laypeople alike, because of the nature of our line. AOR’s supplements are so effective in large part because of the rigor of the science that backs them and the innovative use of novel ingredients – or forms of ingredients, or even applications of ingredients – with which few but specialist researchers are typically familiar. Compared to products based on repackaging established cash cows, AOR formulations require a higher degree of education to be used effectively.
To meet this need, AOR has consistently created literature which carefully backs up its claims, refusing to dumb down the science while taking care not to speak over the head of an intelligent lay audience with an interest in science and a willingness to engage with new ideas and to develop familiarity with new research developments.
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
AOR is dedicated to continuing to advance the cause of healthy life extension through a continuous process of renewal, struggling against the forces that institutionalize stagnation in the supplement industry. Through novel, exclusive contract arrangements, AOR has repeatedly released natural biotechnologies only previously available to research laboratories, overthrowing the forces of inertia that keep revolutionary advances imprisoned in the ivory towers of research. AOR has put advanced new orthomolecules and botanicals into the hands of the natural health care provider, the health-conscious, the seeker of alternatives, and the radical life-extensionist.
A little more than a decade ago, AOR was created to bring something new to the Canadian supplement world: not just new supplements, but a new spirit. In a marketplace dominated by half-baked notions, slipshod product quality, and shoddy research, strive to remain true to a commitment to Innovative Research and Scientific Integrity – and to you. With our recent expansions into the United States and the UK, AOR is now forging new relationships with health-conscious consumers, retailers, and health care practitioners, who alone can ultimately choose to bring the fruits of AOR’s labors into your store, into your practice – and into your life.
When combined, several factors contribute to the advanced nature of AOR: delivery technologies, ingredients, equipment and the facility.
The pharmaceutical industry is miles ahead of the natural health industry in these areas. In addition, pharmaceuticals are required to abide by much more rigorous safety and sterility standards than our natural health products. Although AOR uses natural ingredients, its processes approach pharmaceutical standards in terms of delivery technologies, equipment and the facility.
AOR is bridging the gap between pharmaceutical standards and those of the natural health industry. Though this may sound scary, it merely refers to a process by which AOR goes above and beyond the norm to ensure the efficacy and safety of our products.
At AOR, we choose the appropriate delivery technology, whether Vegi-Capsules, Gelatin Capsules, Softgels, Vegetarian Softgels, Lozenges, Liquids or Creams. The delivery technology of choice is always backed by scientific evidence. When an alternate delivery method is best, AOR will procure it.
Emulsifications and particle size reduction are recent innovative delivery technologies to AOR. These processes are applied where scientifically appropriate with the most effective, safest and cutting-edge equipment available.
AOR knows that ingredients make all the difference. AOR uses the most bioavailable and superior ingredients supported by science in order to ensure that AOR products are effective and safe.
While disintegration testing used to be the standard for assessing the physical breakdown of a product, AOR uses an equipment that assesses its ability to dissolve. This allows for accurate comparisons between dosage forms, establishing time-release profiles and contributes to the optimizing of various formulas.
Particle size reduction is an important advancement within AOR’s formulas. Conventional particle size reduction uses a process that involves a metal mill dividing the particles by force. Unfortunately, traces of steel fibers can be left behind in the product. AOR uses more advanced machinery that is much more hygienic and does not have this risk.
Conventional particle size analysis uses a sieve. This technique works for dry powders only and can test for particles as small as 60 micrometers. AOR’s techniques allow for testing as small as 10 micrometers in both powder and liquid materials.
Making emulsified products can be difficult. Manufacturers usually resort to using stabilizers because they make the appearance and feel of the finished product much more appealing. AOR’s equipment allows creation of emulsification without the use of stabilizers, making a much more natural product.
AOR’s facility is state of the art in the Canadian nutraceutical industry. It follows strict standards and practices required by the pharmaceutical industry for safety while manufacturing the most effective nutraceuticals available. A few of the designs that make AOR’s facility advanced include:
- Non-porous wall & ceiling treatment system to maintain low dust and product contamination
- Dedicated air handling systems for each lab to minimize air movement between labs
- Graded air flow for relative cleanliness to maintain air cleanliness where required and to shuttle contaminated air for appropriate disposal
- Isolated humidity and temperature control for all labs for optimal raw material compliance and production