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PROBLEMS PERSIST WITH GINSENG SUPPLEMENTS
— ConsumerLab.com Finds Nearly Half of Products Lack Ingredient or Contaminated —

 

WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — May 24, 2006 — ConsumerLab.com has released test results for dietary supplements made with ginseng, a popular herb promoted for vitality and the treatment or prevention of a range of medical conditions. Six products failed to pass the review due to lead contamination, lack of ingredient, or inadequate ingredient identification. Seven others passed the review along with four products tested through ConsumerLab.com's certification program. Contamination with pesticides — a problem found in earlier reviews of ginseng products from North America (2000 and 2003) and Japan (2005), was not found in the recent testing.

"There is growing evidence for biological effects of ginseng and its special compounds known as ginsenosides. At the same time, unfortunately, consumers must remain wary of the quality of ginseng supplements," said Tod Cooperman, MD, President of ConsumerLab.com. "One product, for example, had less than 10% of its claimed amount of ginsenosides despite be labeled "EXTRA STRENGTH." And a major store brand product was contaminated with lead."

Ginseng is used for many purposes. While there is not much clinical evidence to support an energy boosting effect, studies indicate that American ginseng may help prevent respiratory infections. American ginseng and Korean red ginseng may keep blood sugar levels down in people with diabetes. Ginseng may also enhance mental function, stimulate the immune system, improve erectile dysfunction in men and, in combination with Ginkgo biloba, improve symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

The new report is available at www.consumerlab.com/results/ginseng.asp. Nineteen products are included: thirteen selected by CL for testing in the review, four certified through CL's Voluntary Certification Program, and two products similar to ones that passed testing but sold under different brand names. The report provides test results, ingredient comparisons, and information about how to buy and use these supplements and their potential side effects. Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available at www.consumerlab.com. New reviews to be released in coming weeks cover garlic and other cholesterol lowerers, probiotics, and CoQ10 supplements. The paperback ConsumerLab.com's Guide to Buying Vitamins and Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle? is available in bookstores, online, or through 800-431-1579.

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 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. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. For group subscriptions or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at lisa.sabin@consumerlab.com.



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