WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — DECEMBER 12, 2006 — Sales of supplements containing beneficial organisms (probiotics) have grown rapidly, but a new test report from ConsumerLab.com shows that 44% contained fewer viable organisms than claimed or generally known to be effective.

Probiotics have been successfully used in a range of clinical applications that include reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), treating H. pylori infection (a causative agent of stomach ulcers), and treating diarrhea associated with antibiotic use and rotaviral infection. Sales of probiotics have experienced strong growth in recent years, reaching $243 million in 2005, up 19.2% from 2004 according to Nutrition Business Journal.

Probiotics for Human Use: Only 8 of 13 Pass Tests
ConsumerLab selected thirteen probiotic products for human consumption sold in the U.S. and/or Canada. Testing showed that four of these products provided less than one billion viable organisms in a daily serving — the minimum amount generally used clinically. In fact, one of these — a major pharmacy brand — provided less than ten percent of this minimum level. A fifth product met the minimum but did not contain a higher amount claimed to be in the product at the time of manufacture. Only eight products were found to meet the one billion minimum and contain the amounts claimed on their labels. An additional six products tested through CL's Voluntary Certification Program also met these criteria. Some products provided several billion organisms per day, with one containing 35 billion.

Probiotics for Pets: Only 1 of 3 Pass Tests
ConsumerLab.com also tested probiotic supplements marketed for use by pets. Among the three products selected, one was contaminated with mold and did not even contain its listed amount of probiotic organisms. Another provided only ten million organisms per day. Only one pet product contained a large dose of viable organisms — 2.3 billion per day.

"Be very careful choosing a probiotic supplement to ensure that it will deliver a sufficient dose of viable organisms," cautioned Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. "These organisms can be very sensitive. They may die and become worthless if products are not properly made or stored." He advised keeping products sealed after use to avoid moisture, and out of heat and light — preferably in a refrigerator.

The Product Review of Probiotic Supplements is now available to ConsumerLab.com subscribers at www.consumerlab.com/results/probiotics.asp. Brands included are Advocare, Ark Naturals, Culturelle (Allergy Research Group/Nutricology), DDS (UAS Laboratories), Enzymatic Therapy, Flora Source, Garden of Life, Jarrow Formulas, Kal, Kyo-Dophilus (Wakunaga), Mitomax, Natural Factors, Nature's Secret, Nature's Sunshine, Nature's Way, Nutravite, Nutrition Now, Pharmanex, Tishcon, Rite Aid, webber naturals, and Vita-Treat. The report provides results for twenty-two supplements of which ConsumerLab.com selected sixteen.

Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available at www.consumerlab.com. New reviews to be released in coming months cover alpha lipoic acid, eye health supplements (lutein and zeaxanthin, joint care supplements (glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM), milk thistle, multivitamins, SAMe and St. John's wort. This winter, ConsumerLab.com will publish the 2nd edition of the acclaimed paperback, ConsumerLab.com's Guide to Buying Vitamins and Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle?.

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.

— END —

back to top