ConsumerLab hits back at AHPA valerian criticism

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ahpa American herbal products association

ConsumerLab: “AHPA is misleading the public with false information.”
ConsumerLab: “AHPA is misleading the public with false information.”
ConsumerLab, the controversial product testing service and market analyst, has defended the criteria it employed in a recent US market assessment that found seven of nine valerian products failed to deliver on stated bioactive payload.

It had been criticized this week by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) for , among other things, inappropriately using European Pharmacopoeia (EP)-established valerenic acids level of 0.17% to all products tested.

Responding to the criticism, ConsumerLab president Tod Cooperman, MD, said: “In an apparent attempt to defend the reputation of products that have failed to meet our quality criteria, the AHPA trade group has overlooked key facts that clearly support’s findings and conclusions.”

“AHPA is misleading the public with false information. We encourage AHPA to instead use its resources to improve the quality of valerian supplements in the marketplace, as there are products containing little of their listed ingredients.”

Cooperman called on AHPA to retract its statement.

European Pharmacopeia

AHPA chief science officer, Steve Dentali, PhD, had said the EP levels were being inappropriately applied because the 0.17% level was only relevant to certain types of valerian – whole, dried valerian root, and not dried valerian root in cut form.

For the cut variety, the EP stipulated only 0.10% of valerenic acid was relevant and if that level had been used two further products would have won a ConsumerLab green light, Dentali said.

But Cooperman said ConsumerLab’s levels related to three acids - acetoxyvalerenic acid, hydroxyvalerenic acid and valerenic acid, and this was published in the report.

“For AHPA to assert that inadequate products are of acceptable quality is a great disservice to consumers,”​ he said.

AHPA was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Cooperman questioned AHPA’s reference to a clinical trial backing the sleep-assisting benefits of one of the products because the product was not characterized and the trial was funded and co-written by employees of the company (Bioforce).

He also defended the use of the Californian Proposition 65 level of 0.5mcg/day in supplements for lead contamination as it was the only one in existence in the absence of an FDA level.

An AHPA recommended lead level of 10mcg/day in supplements was “permissive”,​ he said.

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