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WHITE PLAINS, NY — MARCH 30, 2005 — reported test results today for B vitamin supplements that it recently purchased in the U.S. and Canada. Most of the products were found to contain their claimed amounts of vitamins and all tablets and caplets were able to properly break apart for absorption. However, three products failed testing. Use of B vitamins has grown in recently years due to reported benefits in treating or preventing conditions ranging from heart disease to birth defects. Sales of B vitamins eclipsed those of vitamin C in 2001 and totaled $817 million in 2003 according to Nutrition Business Journal.

The products tested included B vitamin complexes as well as single B vitamins — B-1 (thiamin), B-2 (riboflavin), niacin (B-3), B-6, B-12, folic acid and biotin. Three products failed to pass's testing for the following reasons:
  • A B-complex product contained only 10% of its claimed riboflavin. Although riboflavin deficiency is not common, the lack of riboflavin in a product could be of concern for anyone using it to help prevent migraine headache or manage congestive heart failure, conditions for which riboflavin is used at high dosage.
  • Another B-complex came up short on folic acid, with only 330 mcg per pill rather than the claimed 400 mcg. Folic acid is taken to help prevent birth defects (400 mcg is recommended daily from a supplement or fortified food during pregnancy) and it may work along with B-6 to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes in adults.
  • A B-1 (thiamin) supplement had only 82% of its claimed vitamin. Thiamin deficiency can occur in people taking strong diuretics (known as loop diuretics) for congestive heart failure, and this deficiency itself can adversely affect heart function. For such people, a dose of 100 mg twice a day is generally recommended. Thiamin deficiency is also common in people who abuse alcohol.

B vitamins are generally safe, although high doses of some can cause side effects. Niacin in high doses, for example, can improve cholesterol levels but may cause skin flushing and tingling and even liver injury and should be used under medical supervision. Products with doses that exceeded tolerable levels are noted in the report.

The new report is found at Test results are shown for forty-one products. selected sixteen of the products. Twenty-five others are included for having passed the same testing through's Voluntary Certification Program.

Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available at Reviews soon to be released include omega- 3 & 6 fatty acids (ALA and GLA from black current, borage, evening primrose, and flaxseed oils), supplements used for menopause (including isoflavones, progesterone cream, and black cohosh), nutrition powders and drinks, chromium, weight loss supplements (including CLA and bitter orange), and magnesium. The paperback's Guide to Buying Vitamins and Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle? is available in bookstores, online from or through 800-431-1579. 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. is affiliated with (, an evaluator of online pharmacies. Subscription to is available online. For group subscriptions or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at

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