WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — AUGUST 15, 2006 — Most of the valerian dietary supplements recently tested by ConsumerLab.com were low in potency and/or contaminated, the testing company reported today. Valerian, an herbal sleep aid, accounts for approximately $50 million in sales in the U.S. according to Nutrition Business Journal. Eight products contained less of key valerian compounds than expected. One of these products was also contaminated with lead. Cadmium, a heavy metal that is toxic to the kidneys, was present in two other products. Results were confirmed in independent laboratories.
"Valerian can help people with sleep problems. Unfortunately, many marketed supplements don't match up to products that have been shown to work. Some don't even contain their listed ingredients or are contaminated," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. The company found similar problems in earlier reviews in 2001 and 2004. Dr. Cooperman added, "If you use valerian, choosing a product that passed ConsumerLab.com's testing should improve your odds of it being effective and free of contaminants."
The National Institutes of Health is funding a clinical trial of valerian at Emory University Medical School. The study is headed by Dr. Donald Bliwise, Director of the Program in Sleep, Aging and Chronobiology. Dr. Bliwise commented, "ConsumerLab.com's report is much needed. While valerian may be able to improve the depth and continuity of sleep, doctors have been uncomfortable recommending valerian because they don't really know what is in the products. Now we have some guidance."
The complete report is available at www.consumerlab.com/results/valerian.asp. The report includes results for sixteen products. ConsumerLab.com selected fourteen. Two others were tested at the request of their manufacturers/distributors through CL's Voluntary Certification Program and are included for having passed testing. Also listed is one product similar to one that passed but sold under a different brand name. Brands included are 21st Century, Aboca, Alluna Sleep (Enzymatic Therapy), Bioforce, Eclectic Institute, Gaia Herbs, Kroger, Nature's Answer, Nature's Apothecary, Nature's Valley, Nature's Way, Pharmanex, Puritan's Pride, Shaklee, Swiss Natural Sources, Thompson, and Vitamin World.
Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available at www.consumerlab.com. New reviews to be released in coming months cover CoQ10, DHEA, probiotics, supplements used for muscle enhancement (creatine, HMB, and amino acids), and zinc 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.