CONSUMERLAB.COM FINDS MOST PROSTATE SUPPLEMENTS HAVE CORRECT INGREDIENTS, BUT THREE FAIL TESTING
— Results Posted for 22 Supplements Containing Saw Palmetto and Beta-Sitosterol —
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK — FEBRUARY 6, 2006 — ConsumerLab.com announced test results today from its new Product Review of Prostate Supplements. Year after year, saw palmetto remains one of the most popular herbal supplements due to its ability to improve urinary symptoms in men with prostate enlargement. ConsumerLab.com's testing found nineteen supplements to provide the proper amount and quality of saw palmetto or beta-sitosterol known to improve symptoms; three saw palmetto products did not, including two major brands.
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of men in their sixties and as many as 90 percent in their seventies and eighties have some symptoms of enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). These symptoms include frequent urination, difficulty in starting urination, and fullness in the bladder after urination. U.S. sales of saw palmetto supplements were $134 million in 2004 according to Nutrition Business Journal.
The products selected by ConsumerLab.com for testing were ProstaPro (PhytoPharmica), Prostate 5LX (New Chapter), Saw Palmetto Complete (Designs for Health), and Ultimate Prostate Formula (Herbalife), as well as products from Berkley & Jensen (BJ Wholesale Club), NOW, Physiologics, Premier Value, Source Naturals, TerraVita, The Vitamin Shoppe, TruNature, VITASMART (K-mart), and Walgreens.
Among the three products that failed to pass the Review, one claimed significantly more saw palmetto than it actually contained, despite declaring "Extra Strength," "Quality Assured," and "Guaranteed for Potency." The weight of the contents of each pill was less than half the promised amount of saw palmetto. Another product suggested a dose known to be effective for extracts standardized to contain 85% fatty acids, yet it was standardized to contain only 45% fatty acids — indicating that might be sub-potent. The third product met its claim for "total fatty acids" but fell short on two specific fatty acids expected from saw palmetto extract. This product claimed to be "tested to guarantee its potency." It met its total fatty acid claim due to the presence of fatty acids from olive oil in the product.
Three beta-sitosterol supplements passed testing. Beta-sitosterol is a compound found in saw palmetto and, as a single ingredient, can reduce symptoms of BPH. Beta-sitosterol is best known for lowering cholesterol when taken at a higher dose.
In addition to the products selected by ConsumerLab.com for testing, eight products are included in the report for passing the same testing through ConsumerLab.com's ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program. These products are from Nature's Bounty, Puritan's Pride, Sundown, and Vitamin World.
Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com, offered the following advice to consumers interested in using supplements for treating symptoms prostate enlargement:
- Check first with your doctor to rule out the possibility of prostate cancer — which is not treatable with supplements.
- Check ConsumerLab.com's list for Quality Approved products. Seek products that provide an amount and type of saw palmetto known to be effective, such as 320 mg per day of an extract standardized to at least 85% fatty acids and 0.2% sterols.
- Allow two to four months to see effects.
- Side effects, such as gastrointestinal symptoms, may occur but are generally mild.
The new report is available at www.consumerlab.com/results/sawpalmetto.asp. The report provides results for each product, ingredient comparisons, expert tips on buying and using these supplements, and potential side effects. Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available at www.consumerlab.com. New Reviews to be released in coming weeks will cover calcium and vitamin D, probiotics, and garlic. 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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