Menopausal botanicals earn mixed Consumerlab report card

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Menopause, Osteoporosis

Some female menopause supplements including soy and red clover isoflavones, black cohosh and progesterone creams do not meet their label and content claims, according to new product analysis by Consumerlab.

Products demonstrated, significant variation in the strength and quality of supplements for treating symptoms of menopause,” ​Consumerlab said.

“Although many products provided ingredients that may be effective, a few contained little of their listed ingredient or were contaminated with lead.”

Menopausal treatments aim to relieve symptoms such as hot flashes/flushes and vaginal dryness, which can persist for several years after menopause.

Herbal substitutes for pharmaceutical-based Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) such as red clover and black cohosh have grown in popularity as women seek natural alternatives. However there have been no great concerns about their quality.

Issues

The products tester found the following quality issues:

  • A supplement that provided only 30 percent of the isoflavones that it was “guaranteed to contain.” ​Another supplement provided only 65 percent of claimed glycitein, an isoflavone.
  • Two products violated FDA labeling requirements by not specifying the plant parts used as ingredients.

One product contained lead but most did exactly what they said on the tin.

Consumerlab tested 19 products – 13 it selected as well as six were provided for analysis by manufacturers under the Voluntary Certification Program. Five products similar to those tested were also listed.

Flying colors

The majority passed with flying colors including seven soy isoflavones products that provided the ‘50 mg to 70 mg’ of total soy isoflavones associated with reducing menopause-related hot flashes.

Two of these provided 15mg or more of the specific isoflavone genistein, which has been shown in clinical trials to be important in the treatment of menopausal symptoms.

Two red clover products met their ‘40 mg’ isoflavones claims. These isoflavones have been linked with reducing hot flashes.

Six black cohosh-containing supplements met New York-based Consumerlab quality standards.Three creams were found to provide their listed amount of progesterone, ranging from 15 to 21mg per gram.

The report provided information about the effectiveness, dosage, and potential side effects of each type of supplement.

Other categories Consumerlab has in its sights include 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).

Related topics: Suppliers, Women's health, Polyphenols

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