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ConsumerLab Adds New Features to Website
1 February 2002
by Wyn Snow, Managing Editor

ConsumerLab.com recently announced two new services on its website: a search feature and a section on recalls and warnings. Also, ConsumerLab's most recent round of testing discovered potentially excessive levels of B vitamins in some brands.

Recalls and warnings

ConsumerLab.com states that the most current posting in its new recalls and warnings section will be available to anyone visiting the site. However, archived pages will be accessible only to subscribers.

The current posting warns of possible liver toxicity with kava. These warnings are based on 29 cases in Germany and Switzerland where patients taking kava experienced serious liver disease. In 18 of those cases, patients were also taking pharmaceutical drugs known to cause liver disease. One death and four liver transplants occurred among these 18 cases.

For more details and context about this new kava controversy, read SupplementQuality.com's own feature story about Kava May Be Linked To Liver Problems.

Search feature

ConsumerLab.com has also added a search engine to its website. Searches make it easier for all viewers to find information about specific kinds of supplements. Subscribers can find results for specific brands more easily.

Potentially excessive levels of B vitamins

In its latest round of testing of B vitamin products, ConsumerLab.com found that some brands contain levels of niacin and vitamin B-6 higher than the tolerable upper intake level (more familiarly known as a safe upper level). However, ConsumerLab did not "flunk" these products from its list of those passing its testing. It did note which products exceeded the upper level.

As SupplementQuality.com reported in our feature article RDAs and Safe Upper Levels: Solid Science or Bureaucratic Bias, safe upper levels are based on sketchy data, questionable assumptions, and political bias. The upper level for niacin was set to avoid skin flushing, which is probably the most benign side effect for any substance that people can ingest. However, significantly higher doses of niacin can lead to liver toxicity. Concerns about exceeding the upper level for vitamin B-6 are also more serious; large doses can lead to permanent neurological damage.

However, therapeutic dosages for treating illnesses are sometimes higher than the tolerable upper intake level, which is designed to protect healthy people. Consumers who choose to take high dosages of any nutrient should always consult a doctor who is knowledgable about nutrition -- both deficiency problems and symptoms of toxicity.

New features a bonus for consumers

ConsumerLab's new search feature and section on recalls and warnings will give consumers more useful information and make it easier to use the site, especially for those searching for specific brand information. With 40,000 people on their email news list and 17,000 paid subscribers since their inception roughly two years ago, ConsumerLab.com has become a significant player in the supplement testing and certification arena.end-of-story



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