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CONSUMERLAB.COM REVIEW OF VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENTS FINDS SOME INSUFFICIENCIES AND NEED FOR CLEARER LABELING
— TEST RESULTS RELEASED ONLINE TODAY —


 

WHITE PLAINS, NY — March 13, 2001 — ConsumerLab.com today released results of its Product Review of vitamin E products. Vitamin E is one of the most popular dietary supplements in the U.S., with one quarter of men and more than one third of women reportedly taking it alone or as part of a multivitamin/multimineral. Vitamin E deficiency is rare in the U.S. However, the popularity of vitamin E supplements is the result of research showing that high doses may be beneficial in the prevention and/or treatment of diseases ranging from cancer to arthritis and infertility.

ConsumerLab.com independently purchased 28 different vitamin E products; nineteen claiming to contain natural vitamin E and nine claiming to contain synthetic vitamin E. Among these, one synthetic product was found to have no more than 71% of its claimed amount of vitamin E (which also was found to be in a different synthetic form than claimed). One natural product had 85% of its claimed amount of vitamin E. A third product was marked "natural" on its front label while its ingredients label listed "dl-alpha-tocopherol" ­ indicating synthetic vitamin E, which it was found to contain.

It is important for consumers to distinguish synthetic from natural vitamin E. Products state their vitamin E content in IUs (International Units). However, a greater number of IUs of synthetic vitamin E is needed than natural vitamin E to achieve the same biologic activity. Conversely, side effects, such as bleeding problems, that may occur at high doses, could be caused by less synthetic vitamin E than natural vitamin E. The two types have slightly different chemical names (synthetic has the prefix "dl" while natural has a prefix "d"). Other than providing the chemical name on their ingredient labels, most synthetic products do not otherwise identify themselves as "synthetic." Natural products generally cost more than synthetic products and most indicate that they are "natural" in their labeling or on packaging.

Tod Cooperman, M.D., ConsumerLab.com's President, commented, "Some vitamin E products just don't measure up to their claims, but of equal concern is the potential for consumer confusion regarding natural and synthetic products. People who take vitamin E really need to know the respective chemical name and appropriate dosage for the form they wish to take."

The general findings are available at www.consumerlab.com. ConsumerLab.com's online subscribers can also access the complete list of CL Approved Quality Products and CL's ConsumerTips" for buying and using Vitamin E and similar information from recent Product Reviews of Asian and American ginseng, calcium, chondroitin, CoQ10, creatine, ginkgo biloba, glucosamine, multivitamins/multiminerals, SAM-e, saw palmetto, and vitamin C. Other Product Reviews scheduled for release this year include Echinacea, St. John's wort, soy and red clover (isoflavones), valerian, and MSM supplements, and protein/energy/meal-replacement bars. ConsumerLab.com's Buyer's Guide to Supplements is to be published in print later this year.

To further assist consumers, ConsumerLab.com licenses its flask-shaped CL Seal of Approved Quality (see The CL Seal) to manufacturers for use on products that have passed its evaluations. ConsumerLab.com will periodically re-evaluate these products to ensure their continued compliance with its standards.

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 headquartered in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from or interest in companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. Subscription to Consumerlab.com's Product Reviews is available online. Parties interested in purchasing comprehensive Product Review Technical Reports, licensing content, or requesting testing of additional products may contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at lisa.sabin@consumerlab.com.

Copyright ConsumerLab.com, LLC, 2001. All rights reserved.



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