ConsumerLab.com, White Plains, NY, has released results from its new Product Review of Supplements for Cancer Prevention covering 22 products. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. Intake of certain foods and nutrients has been associated with reduced risk of cancer, many of which are antioxidants—scavenging free radicals that can damage cells in the body. Supplements containing three popular ingredients—green tea, lycopene or selenium—were purchased and tested by ConsumerLab.com.
Sales of green tea supplements, the most popular of those tested, climbed 45% to $160 million in the U.S. in 2004, according to Nutrition Business Journal. Unfortunately, problems were detected in three out of the four green tea products chosen. Two products were contaminated with lead, with 3.3 to 6.8 micrograms per daily serving, far in excess of the State California limit of 0.5 mcg. Another product contained only 71% of its claimed level of EGCG, a key compound in green tea. One of the selenium supplements chosen also failed testing, containing only 38% of its ingredient, while four others passed. All five lycopene supplements selected for testing passed.
“This is an area where consumers really need to be sure of the products they choose,” said Tod Cooperman, MD, president of ConsumerLab.com. “You won’t know if your supplement lacks active ingredients since you can't feel a preventive therapy; and contamination is compounded when a supplement is used daily for years.”
In addition to the fourteen products selected by ConsumerLab.com, the report includes results for eight products tested through the Voluntary Certification Program. Four other products are also listed as similar to products that passed testing but sold under different brand names.
Products covered include those from Bluebonnet, Canadian Sun, Country Life, GNC, Food Science of Vermont, Futurebiotics, Herbal Select, Jarrow, KAL, Life Extension, Metabolic Maintenance, Nature's Answer, Nature's Bounty, Pharmanex, Puritan's Pride, Schiff, Vitamin World and Whole Foods.
The ConsumerLab.com report provides results for each product, ingredient comparisons, extensive information about how to buy and use these supplements, and potential side effects.