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 Valerian “Sleep” Supplements Vary Widely in Key Compounds and Two Fail Tests for Lead Contamination  
White Plains, New York -- October 23, 2013 -- Valerian root powders and extracts are popular herbal sleep aids and may have anti-anxiety effects, but few products on the market provide the amounts of compounds typically used in clinical trials, and some are contaminated with lead, according to a new report from ConsumerLab.com. Sales of valerian supplements rose 16.8% to $90 million in 2012, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

Among ten valerian root supplements which ConsumerLab.com recently selected for review, two were contaminated with small amounts of lead -- a heavy metal that can impair mental functioning and may affect blood pressure. The amounts of lead found in the valerian root supplements are not likely to cause toxicity alone, but it is best to avoid unnecessary lead exposure.

ConsumerLab.com also measured the amounts of valerenic acids in each product. These compounds appear to be important in determining valerian's activity on the nervous system and are markers of valerian quality. While all but one product contained the levels expected by ConsumerLab.com from labels, the amounts of total valerenic acids in a suggested daily serving ranged from just 1 mg to as much as 7.2 mg. The amounts of specific valerenic acids, which may have different functions, also varied.

"Valerian may help some people with sleep problems, although the evidence is mixed,” said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. “Unfortunately, many people may not be giving valerian a fair try because the brand they buy lacks an effective amount or ratio of key compounds."

The complete Valerian Supplements Review is available at https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Valerian_Supplements_Review/valerian/. The report includes results for twelve products. ConsumerLab.com selected ten and two products were tested at the request of their manufacturer or distributor through CL's Quality Certification Program and are included for having passed testing. Products included are Alluna Sleep, Bluebonnet Valerian Root, Botanic Choice Valerian Root, Douglas Laboratories Valerian Root Max-V, Gaia Herbs Valerian Root, Natures Answer Valerian, Natures Way Valerian, Seroyals Valerian Plus, Shaklee Gentle Sleep Complex, Solgar Valerian Root Extract, Vitacost Valerian Root, and Vitamin Shoppe Valerian Root Extract. The report identifies which products passed or failed testing, the evidence for and against valerian for sleep and anxiety, product comparisons on ingredients, quality, and price, and information about valerian dosage, potential side-effects, and drug interactions.

ConsumerLab.com 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.