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CONSUMERLAB.COM FINDS LUTEIN SUPPLEMENTS VARY WIDELY IN STRENGTH BUT MOST MEET INGREDIENT CLAIMS
— Right Amount of Antioxidant Compound May Reduce Risk of Blindness —

WHITE PLAINS, NY — January 29, 2004 — ConsumerLab.com announced today that only one of the 19 lutein/zeaxanthin supplements it recently tested failed to contain the claimed ingredients. Although product quality was generally high, ConsumerLab.com found the suggested dosage of products to vary widely — from 0.25 to 22.5 mg (milligrams) per day, a 90-fold difference. Intake of appropriate amounts lutein and/or zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidant pigments found in highest concentration in the macula of the eye where they may help protect it from damage. Dietary intake of about 6 mg per day of these antioxidants is associated with a reduced risk of macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness in developed countries — and cataracts. Most adults, however, get only 2 to 4 mg per day of lutein and zeaxanthin from their diet. This has lead to the popularity of lutein and zeaxanthin supplements, from which these compounds are absorbed equally as well as from foods. U.S. sales of lutein supplements increased to $100 million in 2002 from only $30 million in 1999 according to Nutrition Business Journal.

"People trying to reduce the risk of eye disease should to get at least 6 mg per day of these eye-specific anti-oxidants. A half cup of spinach, for example, provides this amount," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. "There are many good supplements out there, but people should carefully check the dosage. Products with less than 1 mg won't contribute much and it is not known whether high doses, such as 20 mg, carry added benefit."

The Lutein & Zeaxanthin Product Review is available at http://www.consumerlab.com/results/lutein.asp. The Review includes results for 19 products of which ConsumerLab.com selected 6 and 13 were tested at the request of their manufacturers through ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program. The Review also provides information on how to best choose and use these supplements. Subscription is required for the full report. Separately, 5 lutein and/or zeaxanthin raw material products passed similar testing through ConsumerLab.com's Raw Material & Private Label Certification Program.

Reviews of many other popular supplements are available from ConsumerLab.com online. New Reviews soon to be released include, echinacea, zinc, multivitamins/multiminerals, St. John's wort, and vitamin E. The recently published paperback, ConsumerLab.com's Guide to Buying Vitamins and Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle? is available in bookstores, online from www.consumerlab.com 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 White Plains, 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 (www.pharmacychecker.com), an evaluator of online pharmacies. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. For group subscriptions, Technical Reports, or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at lisa.sabin@consumerlab.com.

Copyright ConsumerLab.com, LLC, 2004. All rights reserved.


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