White Plains, New York, December 9, 2014 —
In recent months, ConsumerLab.com has published test results for a variety of popular supplements, including B vitamins supplements and energy drinks, NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), iron and garlic. In addition, ConsumerLab.com reported levels of omega-7 fatty acids, which are not typically listed on labels but are commonly found in fish oil and other omega-3 fatty acid supplements. The results were often surprising.
Tests of popular B vitamin supplements, complexes and energy drinks
, for example, revealed that many B-complexes and energy drinks contained the wrong amounts of vitamins, often containing much more than listed. While certain B vitamins may help to lower homocysteine levels and slow declines in memory and cognition, excessive amounts can have adverse effects. Tests of selected energy drinks also revealed the actual amount of caffeine provided by each -- a small bottle of one contained more than twice the caffeine expected from a regular cup of coffee.
Similarly, ConsumerLab.com tests of garlic supplements
, commonly taken to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, uncovered a number of problems. In fact, 40% of products selected for testing failed to pass quality criteria. One contained less than half the amount of a key phytochemical associated with effective garlic. Two others failed to break apart properly in disintegration testing, and one product did not list its amount of garlic -- an FDA requirement. Interestingly, one "super strength" garlic supplement was actually one of the lowest in strength — other products were as much as 10 times as strong.
ConsumerLab.com also purchased and tested NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) supplements
, which can help reduce the severity of flu symptoms and frequency of flare-ups of chronic bronchitis, and may be beneficial for a number of other conditions, such as Sjogren's syndrome, renal failure, schizophrenia, and polycystic ovary disease. However, among the products tested, ConsumerLab.com found that suggested daily doses ranged from just 500 mg to 1,800 mg — making it critical to know the dose needed for a specific use. Additionally, ConsumerLab.com found it could be easy to overspend on these supplements, with the cost to obtain an equivalent dose of NAC ranging from just 9 cents to 70 cents.
Wide variations in price were also found among iron supplements tested by ConsumerLab.com
, with the cost to get 25 mg of iron from selected products ranging from just two cents to over two dollars. Testing for contamination found one product exceeded limits for lead. Iron is required to prevent and treat iron-deficiency anemia, and even mild iron deficiency may cause fatigue and impair learning, memory, and sports performance.
ConsumerLab.com also expanded its Review of Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements
to include amounts of omega-7 fatty acids
found in popular supplements. Preliminary evidence suggests that palmitoleic acid, the most common omega-7 fatty acid, may play a role in insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism. Although found in some fish oil supplements, amounts of omega-7s are rarely listed on labels. Yet ConsumerLab.com tests found popular fish oil and omega-3 fatty acid supplements contained as much as 500 mg of palmitoleic acid per daily serving.
is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to ConsumerLab.com is available online
, providing immediate access to independent reviews of more than 1,000 products. 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.