WHITE PLAINS, NY — MAY 10, 2005 — ConsumerLab.com announced today the release of its first report on the quality of supplements in Japan. This begins an ongoing series of reports for Japanese consumers on ConsumerLab.com's new Japanese language website www.consumerlab.jp. ConsumerLab.com has published similar reports for U.S. and Canadian consumers since 1999 at www.consumerlab.com — a popular site that receives over 2 million visits annually.
The first report provides test results for coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplements purchased in Japan. CoQ10 is a top selling supplement in Japan, popularized in 2004 in television reports. One of the products was found to contain only 56% of its claimed amount of this expensive ingredient. Such a discrepancy represents both an economic loss to consumers and is of medical concern since CoQ10 has demonstrated potential in the treatment of tightly controlled conditions such as congestive heart failure, Parkinson's disease, hypertension, and AIDS (HIV). Eleven other products contained their clamed amounts of CoQ10.
"If a person was to switch between a brand with 100% of its CoQ10 to one with only half its stated amount or vice versa, their condition may change but it is unlikely that they or their doctors would know the true reason," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. Dr. Cooperman urged people to use CoQ10 products that have been independently tested.
In both 2000 and again in 2004, ConsumerLab.com has reported finding problems with some CoQ10 products sold in the U.S — most notably one product with no detectable CoQ10 and another with only 17% of its claimed amount. Earlier this year, the Japan Ministry of Health reported finding a CoQ10 product to contain no CoQ10, but a different compound, idebenone, which looks similar to CoQ10. Consequently, ConsumerLab.com checked for idebenone in the product that it found to be low in CoQ10, but idebenone was not present.
ConsumerLab.com selected ten of the products reviewed. Two additional products, from Yerba Prima (distributed by Japan Whole Foods) and PillBox Japan, are included in the Review for having passed the same testing through ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program. The report identifies the eleven products that passed testing. The product that failed is not identified. ConsumerLab.com is notifying the manufacturer of the failed product of the problem with the hope that corrective action will be taken. ConsumerLab.com remains willing to test new and reformulated CoQ10 products through its voluntary program. If such products pass testing, they will be added to the report.
The report is found at http://www.consumerlab.jp/ja-JP/results/CoQ10.asp. A summary of the report is available for free. Subscription is required for the full report, which also includes expert information on how to buy and use CoQ10. Subscription is $9 (approximately ¥950) for the report or $24 (approximately ¥2,500) for 12 months of reports online. Results of the study will also be discussed in a presentation at Natural Products Expo Japan taking place on May 17th at the Tokyo Ryutsu Center.
Tests of many other types of Japanese supplements are in progress. A Product Review of Ginseng Supplements, including popular ginseng-containing drinks, will be released in coming weeks. Reports on twenty to thirty other categories of supplements will be released every four to six weeks, with Reviews of Alpha Lipoic Acid, Ginkgo Biloba, and Multivitamins due in coming months. The www.consumerlab.jp website also allows consumers to view product prices from Japanese vendors, such as Kenko.com. ConsumerLab.com does not receive revenue from product sales. The Japanese website also links to ConsumerLab.com's English-language site, allowing Japanese visitors to check results for U.S. and Canadian products.
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. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. For group subscriptions or voluntary product testing contact Elena Yoo, Japan Manager at Elena.Yoo@ConsumerLab.com.