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About ConsumerLab.com

How Products were Selected:

Products tested represent those commonly sold and/or available nationally in the U.S. ConsumerLab.com purchased products on the open market through retail stores, on-line retailers, and direct sales companies. Products were not accepted directly from manufacturers.

Testing Methods:

  1. Total astaxanthin was quantified using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) (USP DSC 2021).
  2. Analyses for lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury were done by inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) methodology for products containing whole herbs and/or more than 250 mg of minerals per daily dose.
  3. Disintegration of tablets (excluding chewable, sublingual and time-release formulations) using United States Pharmacopeia (USP) <2040> recommendations entitled "Disintegration and Dissolution of Nutritional Supplements."
Any product that did not initially pass (below) a test was sent to another independent laboratory to repeat testing for the criterion on which it did not pass.

ConsumerLab.com may modify or use other appropriate test methods if necessary to test special product formulations.

Identities of products were not disclosed to laboratories performing the testing.

Passing Score:*

To "Pass" a product must:
  1. Contain 100% and not more than 135% of the claimed amount of total astaxanthin including the monoester and diester and free form of 13-cis-astaxanthin, 9-cis-astaxanthin and all-trans-astaxanthin. Extracts are expected to contain a minimum of 5% total astaxanthin esters. The minimum will be applied if there is no claimed amount of astaxanthin on the product supplement facts panel.
  2. Heavy Metals: Products containing whole herbs and/or more than 250 mg of minerals per daily dose must not exceed the following limits:
    Lead**:
    • Products marketed for use by children may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.8 mcg if the product contains more than 1,000 mg/day of calcium.
    • Supplements with single serving weights of less than 5 grams which are not marketed for use by children, may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.4 mcg if containing 250-999 mg/day of any combination of elemental calcium, magnesium and potassium or 0.8 mcg if containing more than 1,000 mg/day of any combination of these minerals. An additional allowance of 0.5 mcg is provided if containing 250 to 999 mg/day of whole herb (not extract). However, total lead allowance will not exceed 2 mcg per day.
    • Products with single serving weights of 5 grams or more which are not marketed for children may not exceed 2.5 mcg per serving nor 4.0 mcg per daily serving.
    Cadmium**:
    • If marketed for use by children, may not exceed 3.0 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on Canada's limit for a child weighing 75 lbs). If not marketed for use by children, may not exceed 4.1 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on the State of California's Prop 65 limit).
    Arsenic:
    • Contain less than 10 micrograms of total arsenic and no more than 5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per daily serving (EPA and state of New Jersey limits - based on 1 liter of water).
  3. Meet recommended USP <2040> parameters of disintegration for dietary supplement tablets (excluding sublingual, chewable and time-release products).
  4. Be in compliance with FDA labeling requirements.
A "Pass" was based on meeting the above criteria in either the first or second rounds of testing.

* Passing scores allow for specific margins of technical error associated with each analysis. ConsumerLab.com reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.

** If available for sale in California, a product that exceeds the State of California's Prop 65 lead limit requires a warning label. However, with or without this warning label, a product cannot pass ConsumerLab.com testing if it exceeds the levels described this paragraph.

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