Since 1999, American consumers and doctors have turned to ConsumerLab.com (CL) to find out which nutritional products are highest in quality based independent testing. CL launched a Chinese-language website, cn.ConsumerLab.com, to help consumers in mainland China evaluate products the same way.
"Our information is designed for people who want to choose the best quality products for themselves and their family members," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., ConsumerLab.com's founder and president. CL's tests check that products contain the correct ingredient, at the amount listed, without common contaminants such as the heavy metals lead, cadmium, and arsenic. Fish and plant oils are also tested for spoilage, and all tablets and caplets are tested for their ability to properly break apart.
The website, cn.ConsumerLab.com, currently has information about 418 U.S. products and 10 Chinese products, in reports covering calcium, vitamin D, multivitamins, vitamin B complexes and energy drinks, fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, CoQ10, arthritis products with chondroitin, glucosamine, MSM and boswellia, ginseng, green tea, protein powders and drinks, and weight loss products. In addition to product tests and comparisons, each report informs the reader about what products do, how to properly use them, and of potential problems, such as drug interactions.
Although most of the current reports on cn.ConsumerLab.com focus on products ConsumerLab.com purchased in the U.S., many of these products are available online to people in China. The site also includes ConsumerLab.com's first tests of products purchased in China—calcium and vitamin D products sold in China as OTC or "healthy food" products. Nine out of 10 of these products were found to contain what they claimed—one product contained 87 percent of the listed calcium. Dr. Cooperman noted, "Results for the Chinese products were better than those found with similar, popular products sold in the U.S., among which only 73 percent passed testing."
Other products from China now being tested by CL include glucosamine and chondroitin (for joint pain) and maca root, a purported energy enhancer.
CL's testing is overseen by CL's vice president for research, Mark Anderson, Ph.D., a pharmacologist and expert in product testing. Dr. Yongchao Li is CL's Chief Scientist for China, responsible for research on products from China and communicating results and information on the Chinese-language website. Dr. Li holds a M.D. degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) from Beijing University of TCM, a Master's degree in Pharmacognosy from Peking Union Medical College, and has studied Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago/NIH Dietary Supplements Research Center.
Registration on cn.ConsumerLab.com is free and provides access to the Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements Review (including Chinese and U.S. products), as well as extensive information about choosing and using many types of natural products. The site also includes expert answers to consumer questions about nutrition and natural products. Full access to the site is available with VIP membership (¥220 Yuan per year) which provides access to all the current reports and product reviews, as well as more in-depth information, which is updated regularly. More than 70,000 individuals, as well as libraries, colleges, and other institutions, are paying members of ConsumerLab.com's English-language website.