WHITE PLAINS, NY — ConsumerLab.com reported this week that among nine brands of alpha lipoic acid supplements it recently purchased in Japan and tested, one contained none of the popular ingredient and another contained only 81%. Five products contained their claimed amounts of alpha lipoic acid, earning ConsumerLab.com's Approved Quality designation. ConsumerLab.com also reported the amounts of alpha lipoic acid in two products whose labels did not state how much they contained.
Alpha lipoic acid was approved as a food ingredient last year in Japan. It was subsequently promoted for its ability to help lose weight as well as its anti-aging effects on a popular television program and its popularity surged. These effects have not been well demonstrated, buy alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to help lower blood sugar and treat neuropathies in people with diabetes.
Among the products approved in the testing, the cost of a 100 mg serving ranged from only 47.50 Yen to as much as 311 Yen (based on the suggested retail price) — a six-fold price difference. Surprisingly, the highest priced product was among those that failed testing — charging 370 Yen for 100 mg of CoQ10 (and delivering only 81 mg).
"Like people everywhere, Japanese consumers are liable to try a supplement before doing their own research. They run the risk of getting ripped-off or, worse, being harmed," said Tod Cooperman, M.D. President of ConsumerLab.com. ConsumerLab.com suggests that if you intend to take a supplement, you should check up on the quality of the specific product and understand the expected effects, side effects, and drug-interactions.
This is the third major report from ConsumerLab.com on dietary supplements in Japan. Reports on CoQ10 and Ginseng were released in May and June, respectively. Additional reports for release this year include Ginkgo Biloba, Multivitamins and Probiotics. ConsumerLab.com has conducted similar testing in the U.S since 1999.
All the products were selected and purchased by ConsumerLab.com. The products were then tested for their levels of alpha-lipoic acid as well as for potential contamination with heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic). Tablets and caplets were further tested for their ability to properly release their contents. Testing was based on methods recommended in the Japanese Pharmacopoeia.
The Alpha Lipoic Acid Product Review is now available at www.consumerlab.com/ja-JP/results/alphalipoic.asp and provides results for the nine products along with information about buying and using alpha lipoic acid supplements. Subscription is required for the report — approximately ¥2,500 for access to all of ConsumerLab.com's reports for one year or ¥950 for 30-day access to this one report. Subscription also permits access to results of hundreds of U.S. and Canadian products listed on ConsumerLab.com's English-language site.
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 New York, U.S.A. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. In addition to its Product Reviews, it offers a Voluntary Certification Program. For group subscriptions or voluntary product testing contact Elena Suzuki Yoo, Japan Manager at Elena.Yoo@ConsumerLab.com.