WHAT'S IN A GARLIC SUPPLEMENT? CONSUMERLAB FINDS FEW BRANDS HAVE IT RIGHT AND MANY MISLEAD
— ConsumerLab.com New Test Report —
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK — JUNE 22, 2006 A new study of garlic supplements by ConsumerLab.com found that only 6 of the 14 products it selected contained the amount of garlic expected from the labels and met quality standards. In fact, one product did not contain any of a key garlic compound, allicin, and another had less than 1% of the expected amount of this compound. Garlic is one of the most popular herbal products in the U.S., with sales in excess of $150 million in 2004 according to Nutrition Business Journal. Whole garlic and garlic supplements may help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, slow the development of atherosclerosis, and aid in other conditions.
In the tests, the strength of garlic products was measured by the amount of allicin each could produce. Allicin is made when garlic is crushed or chewed and is associated with the efficacy of fresh garlic. In the tested products, allicin amounts ranged from none to over 6,000 mcg. Most products that passed the testing provided 4,000 to 6,000 micrograms of allicin per day, about the amount expected from a small clove of garlic and in line with typical dosage recommendations. Aged garlic products were evaluated based on the amount of a related compound known as SAC.
"Despite garlic’s popularity, there is a high likelihood of a consumer being misled by the label on a garlic supplement," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., president of ConsumerLab.com. "There are some very high quality products out there, but it is impossible to distinguish them from rip-offs without the lab results." He gave the following examples:
- Two products claimed their pills to be “equal to a clove of garlic.” But while one yielded a substantial 6,300 mcg of allicin, the other had only 1,630 mcg. Ironically, the weaker product claimed to be "high potency."
- An "ultra-high" potency product claimed each pill to be equivalent to 25 grams of fresh garlic but yielded only 63 mcg of allicin instead of the expected 25,000 mcg.
- A product claimed to be “equivalent” to a popular name-brand supplement to which it looked identical; but it had less than half of the allicin found in the popular product.
- The contents in the capsules of one supplement weighed less than the amount of garlic claimed to be in them.
The new report is now available to ConsumerLab.com subscribers at www.consumerlab.com/results/garlic.asp. Sixteen products are included: fourteen selected for testing by CL and two certified through CL's Voluntary Certification Program. The report provides test results, ingredient comparisons, and information about how to buy and use garlic supplements and their potential side effects.
Reviews of other popular types of supplements are available at http://www.consumerlab.com/results/index.asp. New reviews to be released in coming weeks cover other cholesterol lowerers, probiotics, valerian and CoQ10 supplements. The paperback ConsumerLab.com's Guide to Buying Vitamins and Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle? is available in bookstores, online, or through 800-431-1579.
ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. ConsumerLab.com is affiliated with PharmacyChecker.com, an evaluator of online pharmacies, and MedicareDrugPlans.com, which reviews and rates Medicare Part D plans. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. For group subscriptions or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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