Three-Quarters of Joint-Health Supplements Pass Consumer Reports Tests
YONKERS, N.Y.--Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of the magazine Consumer Reports, published the results of its tests on 19 widely available brands of joint-health supplements--four of which failed to meet label requirements and two of which recommended too low a dose per day (based on clinical studies using 1,500 mg/d of glucosamine and 1,200 mg/d of chondroitin). Through these tests, the magazine evaluated the safety and efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin, something it has done in the past several years with such supplements as SAMe, kava, saw palmetto and echinacea, using official methods for analyses or, if ones did not exist, using an appropriate method based on industry practice and/or sound science. The organization reported that two or three independent laboratories tested each supplement.
Due to the side effects involved with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as aspirin and ibuprofen, the Consumers Union evaluated widely available dietary supplement brands, 74 percent (or 14 brands) of which passed with flying colors. In its report, the organization listed the product's name, pill count, percentage of glucosamine and chondroitin the products contained compared to labeled amounts, labeled recommended doses, the doses used in Consumers Union tests and the cost per daily dose.
The magazine stated in its article that the supplement industry is not as regulated as the drug industry in regard to standardization and label claims. However, "... we are encouraged by [industry organizations] implementing Good Manufacturing Practices that make sure the products contain what they say they do," stated Jeff Martin, director of consumer science and public service at Consumers Union, during an audio news conference in December.
What can manufacturers do whose products did not pass and might possibly be marred by the magazine's negative publicity? "In the past, we heard from the manufacturers whose products were rated by us in regard to the analyses," Martin stated. "It's our policy to give as much information as possible to the manufacturers as to how we came to our conclusion."
According to a statement received from Solgar, the company had not seen the actual lab test results from Consumer Reports, though it did receive the lots and test methods of the products analyzed. One Solgar product did not pass the tests. It noted that it was having the lot numbers independently retested at qualified facilities using the same testing methods as those used by Consumer Reports. "Solgar continues to stand behind all of our products with a 100-percent Customer Satisfaction Guarantee," the company stated. "Solgar is committed to continually improving our manufacturing and quality assurance procedures for all of our products."
"We would like to see all products contain their purported claims," stated Phil Harvey, Ph.D., chief science officer at the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) (www.nnfa.org). "However, this is only one test."