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Research
Lead Contamination and Mislabeling in Joint Health Supplements with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM According to ConsumerLab.com
By
May 8, 2012 - 11:02:48 AM

-- Over 50 Supplements Tested, Including Products for Pets and Horses --

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - White Plains, New York, Tuesday, May 8, 2012 – Glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM are popular dietary supplements for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis – worn joint cartilage. But some products are contaminated with lead, don’t contain listed ingredients, or have inadequate labeling, according recent analyses by ConsumerLab.com. ConsumerLab.com purchased and tested supplements for osteoarthritis for people as well as products for dogs, cats and horses.

One-third of people who take multiple dietary supplements take a joint health supplement according to the latest ConsumerLab.com consumer survey. Sales of these supplements exceed $800 million according to 2010 figures from Nutrition Business Journal. Clinical studies suggest that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin can reduce moderate to severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Chondroitin may also significantly decrease pain due to osteoarthritis of the hands. The evidence for MSM in treating osteoarthritis in people remains preliminary.

Among the 21 products for people selected by ConsumerLab.com which contained glucosamine and/or chondroitin, four products failed to pass ConsumerLab.com’s review. A supplement sold by a national chain was contaminated with 13.2 micrograms of lead per daily serving – far exceeding the 0.5 mcg limit set by the State of California (the only state to set a limit), above which a warning label is required. Lead accumulates in the body and, at high levels, can adversely affect the nervous system and increase blood pressure. Children are particularly sensitive to lead and should not be exposed to more than 6 mcg in total per day. Adults can tolerate higher levels of lead, but unnecessary exposure should be avoided. A supplement sold by another national brand was also contaminated with lead, although at a lower level -- 1.7 micrograms of lead per daily serving.

Three products for people were mislabeled: The most expensive supplement tested (costing over $2 per day) contained only 71.5% of its claimed chondroitin; another product lacked a required shellfish allergen warning (its glucosamine is made from crab shell), and another lacked a warning for people with the genetic disease phenylketonuria, as it contained the artificial sweetener acesulfame K.

In a separate review of products for dogs, cats and horses, 3 of the 6 products selected by ConsumerLab.com passed quality criteria. One product contained only 4.5% of its chondroitin. Two products for dogs and/or cats contained lead above ConsumerLab.com’s limit (the same used for products for people). Lead was also found in one horse supplement. ConsumerLab.com also looked at pet foods promoted for “mobility” or “healthy joints” but careful review of their labels found they provided relatively little glucosamine and chondroitin.

The Product Review of Joint Supplements (for people) is available online and covers the following 43 supplements (including 20 approved in ConsumerLab.com’s Voluntary Certification program and one product similar to another that was approved):

21st Century Glucosamine 750 Chondroitin 600 Triple Strength
BioGenesis Nutraceuticals ArthroGenx
Cosamin DS
CVS pharmacy MSM
Doctor's BEST Best MSM 1500
Dr. David Williams Joint Advantage Gold Advanced Relief
Drinkables Liquid Supplements Liquid Joint Care
Elations Healthier Joints
FeelAnew Glucosamine and Chondroitin with Nexrutine
Finest Natural Glucosamine Chondroitin Double Strength
GNC Glucosamine 750 Chondroitin 600
GNC Triflex
GNC TriFlex Complete Vitapak Fast Acting
GNC TriFlex Complete Vitapak MSM
GNC Triflex Fast-Acting
Jarrow Formulas Glucosamine + Chondroitin + MSM
Joint Juice Glucosamine-Chondroitin Blueberry Acai
KAL Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM
Maxi-Health Super Glucosamine Complex
Maximum Strength DONA Crystalline Glucosamine Sulfate
Nature Made Triple Flex
Nature's Bounty Flex-a-min Triple Strength with Joint Flex
NOW Vegetarian Glucosamine & MSM
Nutrilite glucosamine-7
Nutri-Supreme Research Ultra Joint Support with Glucosamine and OptiMSM
Osteo Bi-Flex Advanced
Puritan's Pride Premium Glucosamine HCL
Schiff Move Free Advanced
Shaklee Joint Health Complex
Simply Right Triple Strength Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Source Naturals Chondroitin Sulfate
Spring Valley MSM
Thorne Research Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Trace Minerals Research ActivJoint Platinum
Trader Joe's Glucosamine Chondroitin
TR CAPS TR Joint Plus Caps 8 Hour Time-Release
Twinlab Joint Fuel
USANA Optimizers Procosa
Vitamin Shoppe Joint Solutions Triple Strength Glucosamine & Chondroitin with MSM
Vitamin World Triple Strength Glucosamine HCL
Webber naturals Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM
Wellesse Joint Movement Glucosamine
Whole Foods Glucosamine and Chondroitin Complex

The Product Review of Joint Supplements for Dogs, Cats, and Horses is separately available online and covers the following 12 products (including 6 approved in ConsumerLab.com’s Voluntary Certification program):

21st Century Glucosamine and Chondroitin Level 2 Moderate Joint Support
Cosequin Bonelets Plus
Cosequin Joint Health Supplement for Cats
Cosequin Optimized with MSM
Doc Roy's Aches Away Soft Chews
Doctors Foster and Smith Joint Care Level 3
Grand Meadows SmartPak Grand Complete
Joint Complete for Dogs and Cats
Joint Max Regular Strength for Smaller Dogs and Cats
Liquid Health Naturals K9 Glucosamine Hip & Joint Formula
Nutri-Vet Hip and Joint Level 2 Moderate Care for Dogs
Travco Products CuraFlex XS Bonelets


ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Reviews of other popular types of supplements are available from www.consumerlab.com. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.

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