MANY ARTHRITIS SUPPLEMENTS LACK KEY LISTED INGREDIENT
— ConsumerLab.com Finds Chondroitin Missing or Low in Eight Supplements; Glucosamine and MSM Also Tested —
WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — April 11, 2007 — Forty percent of the supplements for osteoarthritis that ConsumerLab.com recently selected for testing were found to lack all or some of their key ingredients. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting an estimated 20.7 million adults in the United States. Supplements made with glucosamine and/or chondroitin may reduce symptoms by helping to maintain and repair cartilage. These products have become top selling supplements, accounting for $810 million in U.S. sales in 2005 according the latest figures from Nutrition Business Journal.
Problems were concentrated among products claiming to contain chondroitin, a particularly expensive ingredient derived from animal cartilage. Of the eleven products that claimed to provide chondroitin, eight, or 73%, failed testing for the following reasons:
- A "maximum strength" supplement contained no chondroitin at all.
- Three other supplements had only 1% to 8% of their listed chondroitin, of which one also provided less than half of its promised glucosamine. Three more had only 51% to 75% of their chondroitin.
- One supplement contained all of its claimed ingredients, but failed to pass testing because it would not break apart properly, indicating that its ingredients might not be fully delivered in the body.
"Many orthopedic surgeons now recommend a trial of glucosamine and chondroitin to patients with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee, hips, or fingers, said Tod Cooperman, MD, President of ConsumerLab.com. "Unfortunately, our tests suggest that a lot of people may not be getting the full benefit."
An explanation for the widespread problem was suggested by Dr. William Obermeyer, ConsumerLab.com's Vice President for Research and a former chemist in the U.S. FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "To cut costs, some manufacturers may withhold chondroitin, which is expensive, or buy poor quality material 'certified' with a non-specific test for chondroitin," he said. Examples of non-specific tests are the CPC titration method and the size-exclusion chomatography — both are easily tricked by sulfate-containing compounds. ConsumerLab avoided this issue by analyzing products with a highly specific test for chondroitin based on high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).
The new report is available at www.consumerlab.com/results/gluco.asp. The report provides results for thirty-four supplements of which ConsumerLab.com selected twenty. Fourteen were tested at the request of their manufacturers/distributors through CL's Voluntary Certification Program and are included for having passed testing. Also listed are four products similar to ones that passed but sold under different brand names. Brands included are Advocare, Bronson, Country Life, Cosamin, Cosequin, CVS, Doctor's Best, Drinkables, HydraJoint, GLC, Joint Max, Karuna, Kirkland, Maxi Health, Nature Made, Nature's Plus, NSI, Nutri Vet, Pharmanex, Puritan's Pride, Rottapharm, Schiff, Symtec, Swanson, TriMedica, Twinlab, Vitamin World, Walgreens, and Weil.
Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available at www.consumerlab.com. New reviews to be released in coming months cover SAMe, alpha lipoic acid, eye health supplements (lutein and zeaxanthin), milk thistle, nutrition drinks, and resveratrol.
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 email@example.com.
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