PROBLEMS AND AMBIGUITY AMONG ALTERNATIVE ESTROGEN PRODUCTS REPORTED BY CONSUMERLAB.COM —
Results of Soy and Red Clover Isoflavone Product Testing Released Online Today —
WHITE PLAINS, NY — August 15, 2001 — ConsumerLab.com, an independent evaluator of dietary supplements and nutrition products, today released results of its Phytoestrogen Product Review. The review focused on dietary supplements made from soy and red clover isoflavones. Isoflavones are estrogen-like plant compounds used primarily to treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with estrogen is associated with various side effects. Although not as effective as HRT, isoflavones have become popular alternatives due to fewer side effects and greater availability. ConsumerLab.com purchased eighteen products and tested their isoflavone levels. Neither the FDA nor any other federal or state agency routinely tests phytoestrogens products, or other supplements, for quality prior to sale.
More than one-quarter of the 18 isoflavone products purchased by ConsumerLab.com did not pass the testing. The five failing products had only 50% to 80% of the claimed isoflavones. "Some manufactures are just not putting in the proper type or amount of isoflavones," said Tod Cooperman, M.D, ConsumerLab.com's President. "Our testing also uncovered a more global concern for consumers: The term 'isoflavones' on a label may specifically refer to just the 'estrogen-like' isoflavone molecules or may include sugars attached to these molecules. The sugars can account for as much as 40% to 50% of the claimed isoflavone weight, making it hard to judge the potential potency of a product simply claiming to contain 'isoflavones'," added Dr. Cooperman. "More descriptive labeling and adherence to claims is needed among phytoestrogen products. Otherwise, consumers can't be sure of what they are getting."
The complete list of phytoestrogen products that passed the review, as well as ConsumerTips™ on buying and using soy and red clover isoflavone products (which includes a list of isoflavone-rich soy foods) is now available to ConsumerLab.com's online subscribers at www.consumerlab.com. General findings and examples of approved products are also available for free from the Web site. Similar information is available online from ConsumerLab.com's Product Reviews for Asian and American ginseng, calcium, chondroitin, CoQ10, creatine, echinacea, ginkgo biloba, glucosamine, MSM, multivitamins/multiminerals, SAM-e, saw palmetto, St. John's wort, valerian and vitamins C and E. Other Product Reviews scheduled for release in coming months include protein/energy/diet bars, iron, omega-3-fatty acids, and B vitamins. ConsumerLab.com's Buyer's Guide to Supplements is to be published in print next 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 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 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 email@example.com.
Copyright ConsumerLab.com, LLC, 2001. All rights reserved.
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