Vitacost.com Discount Site Provides St. John's Wort Evaluations
This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
Vitacost.com is attempting to distinguish itself from other discount e-commerce sites by providing consumers with independent lab comparisons of dietary supplements. The first results posted are for several St. John's wort products.
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Natrol 5-Hydroxytryptophan and Nature's Way Standardized Green Tea Extract are the top-ranking products in the e-tailer's review of 13 weight loss supplements sold on the site. Products were ranked based on a comparison of label claims to actual content, expected effectiveness, safety and price. Vitacost.com notes it did not evaluate weight loss supplements containing ephedra because it does not sell the products due to safety concerns. The company previously evaluated St. John's wort supplements (1"The Tan Sheet" March 27, p. 9)
The lower potency limit dietary supplements are required to meet for the duration of their shelf life will remain at 90% of the labeled amount, the U.S. Pharmacopeia Subcommittee on Non Prescription Drugs and Nutritional Supplements voted Dec. 8 in Rockville, Md.
ST. JOHN'S WORT HPLC TEST METHOD ENDORSED BY USP over older methods used by the dietary supplement industry. The U.S. Pharmacopeia will publish its recommendation to use high performance liquid chromatography to test the potency of St. John's wort products in its next bimonthly Pharmacopeial Forum and will accept public comment on the recommendation. USP prefers HPLC to earlier UV methods including the DAC-1986 and DAC-1991 tests because it is a more discriminating procedure; HPLC allows quantitation of several marker substances such as hypericin, pseudohypericin and hyperforin while DAC-86 and DAC-91 are unable to separate out key ingredients from product excipients. The USP standards monograph on St. John's wort is due out in November.