, Volume 81, Issue 4, pp 689–698 | Cite as

Analysis of Pharmacologic Adulteration in Dietary Supplements by Capillary Zone Electrophoresis Using Simultaneous Contactless Conductivity and UV Detection

  • Larissa Sabo Müller
  • Diana Tomazi Muratt
  • Thaís Ramos Dal Molin
  • Carolina Gonzalez Urquhart
  • Carine Viana
  • Leandro Machado de Carvalho


The consumption of dietary supplements is increasing every year all over the world. In addition, the consumption has been accompanied by the increased frequency of adulteration of the products with synthetic pharmaceuticals. Analytical methods that allow testing the presence of synthetic drugs in dietary supplements are needed to detect such fraudulent practices. This paper describes the study of furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone and amiloride (diuretics), fluoxetine and paroxetine (antidepressants), and phenolphthalein (laxative) and amfepramone (anorexic) in dietary supplements marketed in Brazil for weight loss and physical fitness claims. A total of 113 products were acquired from websites and physical stores. The analytical method applied in this work involved the separation of the compounds by capillary zone electrophoresis in a working electrolyte consisting of 30% (v/v) methanol in a 20-mmol L−1 phosphate buffer (pH 9.2) and capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection and UV detection simultaneously. The method was validated in accordance with the appropriate guideline of the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) and was successfully applied to the analysis of the samples of dietary supplements. Hydrochlorothiazide was present in 14 of the studied samples. One sample presented furosemide in addition to hydrochlorothiazide, both acting as diuretics.

Graphical abstract


Dietary supplements Adulterants Capillary electrophoresis Conductivity detection UV detection 



The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support given by the Brazilian foundations CNPq, FAPERGS, and CAPES. The authors specially thank CAPES for the concession of a PDSE scholarship to L.S. Müller.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by CAPES, FAPERGS, and CNPq (Grant Numbers 440132/2014-2 and 312181/2013-2).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larissa Sabo Müller
    • 1
  • Diana Tomazi Muratt
    • 2
  • Thaís Ramos Dal Molin
    • 1
  • Carolina Gonzalez Urquhart
    • 1
  • Carine Viana
    • 1
  • Leandro Machado de Carvalho
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical SciencesFederal University of Santa Maria (UFSM)Santa MariaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryFederal University of Santa Maria (UFSM)Santa MariaBrazil

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