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WHITE PLAINS, NY — September 17, 2008 — Risks associated with traditional hormone therapy for symptoms of menopause have increased public interest in alternative treatments, particularly dietary supplements. But a report today of recent tests by ConsumerLab.com shows that the amount and quality of ingredients in these products varies widely. ConsumerLab.com tested supplements made with black cohosh, soy isoflavones, and red clover isoflavones, as well as progesterone creams. Although many products provided ingredients that may be effective, a few contained little of their listed ingredient or were contaminated with lead. Highlights from ConsumerLab.com's report include the following:

Quality problems:
  • One supplement provided only 30% of the isoflavones that it was "guaranteed to contain." Another supplement provided only 65% of it claimed amount of glycitein, a specific isoflavone.
  • Lead contamination was detected in one supplement.
  • Two products violated FDA labeling requirements by not specifying the plant parts used as ingredients.
Soy isoflavones: Seven products met ConsumerLab.com's quality standards and provided the "50 mg to 70 mg" of total soy isoflavones associated by some researchers with reducing menopause-related hot flashes. Two of these supplements also provided 15 mg or more of the specific isoflavone genistein, an amount considered to be particularly important in such treatment.

Red clover isoflavones: Two products provided the "40 mg" of total red clover isoflavones associated with reduced hot flashes and met other quality standards.

Black cohosh: Six black cohosh-containing supplements met quality standards.

Progesterone: Three creams were found to provide their listed amount of progesterone, ranging from 15 to 21 mg per gram.

The new report provides test results and comparisons for nineteen products. Thirteen were selected by ConsumerLab.com and six others were tested at the request of their manufacturers through ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program. Five additional products are listed that are similar to ones that passed testing but sold under different brand names. The report also provides information about the effectiveness, dosage, and potential side effects of each type of supplement. Brands included in the report are Balance, Herbalife, Kevala, Life-flo, LifeWise, Natrol, Nature's Answer, Nature's Bounty, Nature Made, NOW, Nutrilite, Oöna, Puritan's Pride, Rainbow Light, Swanson, TruNature (Costco), Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, and Vitanica.

Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available from at www.consumerlab.com. New reviews soon to be released focus on beta-carotene/vitamin A), calcium, CoQ10, melatonin, vitamin D, vitamin K, zinc and supplements used for memory enhancement (acetyl-L-carnitine, ginkgo, and huperzine A).

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 County, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. 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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