WHITE PLAINS, NY — July 31, 2003 — ConsumerLab.com reported today that more than half of the cholesterol-lowering supplements that it recently purchased failed to contain their listed ingredients and/or could not adequately break apart to release their contents. One product, for example, contained less than 10% of its claimed ingredient. Tablets of another product costing over $80 per month were so hard that only a hammer could break them.
ConsumerLab.com tested products having one of three plant-derived ingredients — guggulsterones, policosanol, or sterols — all shown in clinical studies to reduce total cholesterol and LDL ("bad cholesterol") by about 10% to 15%. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, about 50 percent of American adults have elevated blood cholesterol levels, a key risk factor for heart disease. ConsumerLab.com previously published test results for two other cholesterol-lowering supplements — niacin and garlic — as well as for fish oils that can reduce triglycerides. Cholesterol-lowerers are among the fastest growing supplement categories — sales increased 37% in the past year in the natural foods market according to SPINS and 20% in the mainstream market according to ACNielsen.
"After diet and exercise, supplements are a viable option to lower cholesterol levels before considering drug therapy," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. "To provide their full benefit, however, these supplements must contain and deliver all of their ingredients — otherwise the only thing they are sure to reduce is your bank account." ConsumerLab.com speculates that the problems found reflect a combination of poor manufacturing and the use of too little or low-quality ingredients.
Only one out of five guggulsterone products passed testing — the other four contained from 4% to 74% of the expected ingredient. Only three of seven policosanol supplements passed testing — the other four contained from 23% to 79% of the expected ingredient and one of these, as noted above, was also too hard to break apart. Of four sterol supplements tested, three passed but one failed for containing only 77% of the expected ingredient and also could not fully break apart.
The Review can be found at www.consumerlab.com/results/cholest.asp and includes results for 17 supplements, including the sixteen reviewed and one other guggulsterone product that recently passed the same evaluation through CL'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. CL's Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available online. Soon to be released are new reviews of Muscular Enhancers (Creatine, HMB, and Glutamine), Asian & American Ginseng, Lutein, and Joint Supplements (Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, and SAMe). ConsumerLab.com's Guide to Buying Vitamins and Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle is being released in paperback in September.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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