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Bacopa monnieri and heavy metal toxicity


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#1 JasRonq

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 06:05 PM


Wikipedia - Bacopa monnieri

Phytoremediation
Bacopa monnieri is a known hyperaccumulator of Cadmium, Chromium, Lead and Mercury, and as such can be used for phytoremediation.

Wikipedia - Phytoremediation
Phytoremediation means that the plant can be used to extract pollutants from the environment with out manual excavation and disposal. This plant does this because it is a hyperaccumulator of these heavy metals, meaning as it grows it extracts them from the soil at a high rate. I must assume that as such they stay in the plant. This leads me to worry about heavy metal toxicity if this plant were consumed often.

My questions here to you guys are these:

Does this info sound credible?

How much is really in the amount of plant material consumed for nootropic purposes?

Is these anyway to grow the plant in an environment free of those heavy metals to create a relatively pure sample for such consumption?

Is there any way to continuously purge the metals from the body to negate the intake from this plant?

#2 chrono

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 08:15 PM

Sounds plausible, but I'm no botanist. The references for that sentence are:
  • McCutcheon & Schnoor 2003, Phytoremediation. New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons, page 898.
  • Gurta et al. 1994
The relevant page of Phytoremediation doesn't appear in the Google Books preview, but I'll look it up next time I'm in the right library. I was unable to find the mystery work by Gurta in my usual reference searches, but I'll keep a look out.

This has been brought up before: Some Herbal Remedies Could Be Dangerous and Where to buy bacopa. Basically, lots of ayurvedic herbs contain large amounts of heavy metals, but there's been no evidence (either way?) of these appearing in actual supplements.

I just make sure to buy high-quality supplements for these plants. I figure there's a better chance that they were sourced/extracted with this kind of thing in mind. But any more info would be welcome, of course.

Edited by chrono, 12 February 2010 - 08:15 PM.


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#3 What'sAllThisThen

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 10:26 PM

One way to prevent build up of heavy metals is to take supplements that are known to help eliminate heavy metals. Taking them along with the possible contaminant (ie. Bacopa, fish with mercury, etc) may be even better as it could help eliminate it immediately.

Some such supplements include MSM, Chlorella, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, and others. You should research each one to find which is most effective and doesn't interact with anything else you take or any of your conditions.

I've never researched its efficacy in heavy metal detoxification, but I do take Chlorella as a supplement for its general health benefits.

#4 chrono

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 10:48 PM

One way to prevent build up of heavy metals is to take supplements that are known to help eliminate heavy metals. Taking them along with the possible contaminant (ie. Bacopa, fish with mercury, etc) may be even better as it could help eliminate it immediately.

Some such supplements include MSM, Chlorella, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, and others. You should research each one to find which is most effective and doesn't interact with anything else you take or any of your conditions.


Good advice. I've been meaning to look into this as I've been reading COAs of some of the bulk (and non-bulk) products I'm interested in. Might be a good idea in general if one takes a lot of supplements.

#5 JasRonq

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 12:51 AM

One way to prevent build up of heavy metals is to take supplements that are known to help eliminate heavy metals. Taking them along with the possible contaminant (ie. Bacopa, fish with mercury, etc) may be even better as it could help eliminate it immediately.

Some such supplements include MSM, Chlorella, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, and others. You should research each one to find which is most effective and doesn't interact with anything else you take or any of your conditions.

I've never researched its efficacy in heavy metal detoxification, but I do take Chlorella as a supplement for its general health benefits.

Excellent, thank you. I will assume that any supplement I buy will have heavy metals in it unless at least advertised otherwise.

I was looking at two possible solutions to this then. Either find something that effectively eliminates the heavy metals or find a way to grow it myself in a heavy metal free environment. For this particular herd its not out of the question, at least in some areas.

#6 JasRonq

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 01:14 AM

Some such supplements include MSM, Chlorella, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, and others. You should research each one to find which is most effective and doesn't interact with anything else you take or any of your conditions.


I can't find credible mention of heavy metal elimination for any of those mentioned substances. Chlorella was the closest with lots of pages full of green trying to sell products to me for "blood cleaning" and other such things. Not even wiki mentions it, much less a reputable page without bias.


Anyone know of something that actually does remove heavy metals from the body?

#7 recitative

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 04:10 AM

Lead, mercury, and arsenic in US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines sold via the Internet.

Saper RB, Phillips RS, Sehgal A, Khouri N, Davis RB, Paquin J, Thuppil V, Kales SN.

Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA 02118-2317, USA. robert.saper@bmc.org

Erratum in:

* JAMA. 2008 Oct 8;300(14):1652.

Comment in:

* JAMA. 2009 Jan 21;301(3):271; author reply 272.

CONTEXT: Lead, mercury, and arsenic have been detected in a substantial proportion of Indian-manufactured traditional Ayurvedic medicines. Metals may be present due to the practice of rasa shastra (combining herbs with metals, minerals, and gems). Whether toxic metals are present in both US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines is unknown. OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of Ayurvedic medicines available via the Internet containing detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic and to compare the prevalence of toxic metals in US- vs Indian-manufactured medicines and between rasa shastra and non-rasa shastra medicines. DESIGN: A search using 5 Internet search engines and the search terms Ayurveda and Ayurvedic medicine identified 25 Web sites offering traditional Ayurvedic herbs, formulas, or ingredients commonly used in Ayurveda, indicated for oral use, and available for sale. From 673 identified products, 230 Ayurvedic medicines were randomly selected for purchase in August-October 2005. Country of manufacturer/Web site supplier, rasa shastra status, and claims of Good Manufacturing Practices were recorded. Metal concentrations were measured using x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence of medicines with detectable toxic metals in the entire sample and stratified by country of manufacture and rasa shastra status. RESULTS: One hundred ninety-three of the 230 requested medicines were received and analyzed. The prevalence of metal-containing products was 20.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 15.2%-27.1%). The prevalence of metals in US-manufactured products was 21.7% (95% CI, 14.6%-30.4%) compared with 19.5% (95% CI, 11.3%-30.1%) in Indian products (P = .86). Rasa shastra compared with non-rasa shastra medicines had a greater prevalence of metals (40.6% vs 17.1%; P = .007) and higher median concentrations of lead (11.5 microg/g vs 7.0 microg/g; P = .03) and mercury (20,800 microg/g vs 34.5 microg/g; P = .04). Among the metal-containing products, 95% were sold by US Web sites and 75% claimed Good Manufacturing Practices. All metal-containing products exceeded 1 or more standards for acceptable daily intake of toxic metals. CONCLUSION: One-fifth of both US-manufactured and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines purchased via the Internet contain detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic.

pub med

#8 chrono

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 04:29 AM

Lead, mercury, and arsenic in US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines sold via the Internet.


Nice one. I wonder if the full text has details about which products were contaminated. It's on the list for my next trip to the library.

The "web sites" part of the conclusion is a little strange, for a paper published in 2008. Some of the highest-quality brands are more readily available online, as is probably every brand sold in stores, so I'm not quite sure what they're getting at there. Fly-by-night companies, maybe?

Edited by chrono, 13 February 2010 - 04:36 AM.


#9 Steve_86

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 07:41 AM

I wonder what brands can be trusted.

Planetaryherbals seems good according to their website:
"Herbs are first checked in the traditional organoleptic manner (assessment of taste, smell, appearance, and relative quality) and are then subject to a variety of analytic tests. These include qualitative and quantitative analysis using ultraviolet and infrared spectrophotometry, thin layer chromatography (TLC), and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as well as Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) screening for heavy metals and full microbiological testing to ensure all herbs are free of pathogenic bacteria. All tablets meet the disintegration criteria of the United States Pharmacopoeia."

#10 JasRonq

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 08:25 AM

I wonder what brands can be trusted.

Planetaryherbals seems good according to their website:
"Herbs are first checked in the traditional organoleptic manner (assessment of taste, smell, appearance, and relative quality) and are then subject to a variety of analytic tests. These include qualitative and quantitative analysis using ultraviolet and infrared spectrophotometry, thin layer chromatography (TLC), and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as well as Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) screening for heavy metals and full microbiological testing to ensure all herbs are free of pathogenic bacteria. All tablets meet the disintegration criteria of the United States Pharmacopoeia."


That does sound trustworthy, so long as its true.

In consideration that it would seem the problem of heavy metals is not limited to foreign sources or even particular herbs, I believe all herbs should be considered contaminated to a degree worth concern unless, like this above example, reason is given to the contrary. With that in mind I am still looking for effective heavy metal cleansing methods or substances. Many of these herbs are well worth using and so some way of negating the buildup of these dangerous and unhealthy metals and minerals is necessary.


Just to further make the point, consider that this particular herb is considered nootropic, yet daily long term intake could conceivably lead to lead poisoning. Some symptoms of which are loss of short term memory and concentration, stupor, slurred speech, fatigue and depression. Mercury poisoning also leads to various forms of nerve damage. Those two alone are rather anti-nootropic making this herb dubious for its use in the long term. I am exploring methods of removal.

#11 acantelopepope

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 06:46 PM

From the full report, the Bacopa they sampled had 6.0 μg/g per sample size. The sample was bought from the american company "National Institute of Ayurvedic
Medicine."

I'll attach the PDF.

Attached Files



#12 recitative

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 08:35 PM

Planetary Herbals was not one of the brands analyzed in that study.

I take Planetary Herbals bacopa because of their safety claims.

Acantelopepope, what do you think about all this.


From the full report, the Bacopa they sampled had 6.0 μg/g per sample size. The sample was bought from the american company "National Institute of Ayurvedic
Medicine."

I'll attach the PDF.



#13 chrono

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 10:48 PM

Thanks a lot for the article, cantelopepope. Too bad they didn't attach a list of the products they found to be free of all metal contaminants. That would have been tremendously useful.

#14 What'sAllThisThen

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 12:56 AM

Some such supplements include MSM, Chlorella, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, and others. You should research each one to find which is most effective and doesn't interact with anything else you take or any of your conditions.


I can't find credible mention of heavy metal elimination for any of those mentioned substances. Chlorella was the closest with lots of pages full of green trying to sell products to me for "blood cleaning" and other such things. Not even wiki mentions it, much less a reputable page without bias.


Anyone know of something that actually does remove heavy metals from the body?


Here's a page that lists some supplements... http://www.healingda...l-chelation.htm

I'm out the door, so I don't have time to really look at the site and see if they have a bias. I've seen similar pages listing many of the same supplements as well as others. Perhaps a search for Natural Oral Chelation, or Natural Heavy Metal Elimination, or Chlorella Heavy Metals would bring up more info.

It's not something I've ever researched before, just heard in passing so I don't know much about it or if it's just bunk. However, I just did a quick PubMed search on Chlorella Detoxification and Chlorella Heavy Metals and saw a few studies with mice and various heavy metals and the conclusion seems to support that Chlorella helps with elimination. Read them and let us know.

#15 JasRonq

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 04:15 AM

Here's a page that lists some supplements... http://www.healingda...l-chelation.htm

Sounds legit and is backed by what I have read so far (though the overall effectiveness is still questionable to me, these are just the most effective solutions).
The page isn't obviously pushing a particular product and seems informational so I don't see any overt bias. Good supportive find there.

Edit: One thing this link did not mention was metals other than mercury, lead for instance.

Also, I just thought of a kink in all this. What if the plant actually chelates the metals as it grows rending the consumption as part of the plant non-toxic?

Edited by JasRonq, 14 February 2010 - 04:19 AM.


#16 chrono

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 07:13 AM

The page isn't obviously pushing a particular product and seems informational so I don't see any overt bias. Good supportive find there.

Heavy metal detoxification is a dodgy subject. I've been doing some reading off and on since this thread started, and there's frustratingly little reliable information. There's a huge number of unsubstantiated claims, and extrapolation from just a few animal studies with no corresponding tests done in humans.

A lot of non-commercial websites are selling an...agenda, almost, or trying to be genuinely helpful but regurgitating unreliable information. For example, the site linked says that it's impossible to take too much chlorella, without mentioning that it's very high in iron, which isn't good for men.

I've started another topic in the main supps, in the hopes of collecting more info on actual studies: Preventative Heavy Metal Detoxification.

Also, I just thought of a kink in all this. What if the plant actually chelates the metals as it grows rending the consumption as part of the plant non-toxic?

From the wiki: Most metal complexes in the environment and in nature are bound in some form of chelate ring, e.g. with a humic acid or a protein. Thus, metal chelates are relevant to the mobilization of metals in the soil, the uptake and the accumulation of metals into plants and micro-organisms.

I don't know enough about biology to say whether this renders them any less harmful, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Edited by chrono, 14 February 2010 - 07:13 AM.


#17 JasRonq

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 03:32 PM

Also, I just thought of a kink in all this. What if the plant actually chelates the metals as it grows rending the consumption as part of the plant non-toxic?

From the wiki: Most metal complexes in the environment and in nature are bound in some form of chelate ring, e.g. with a humic acid or a protein. Thus, metal chelates are relevant to the mobilization of metals in the soil, the uptake and the accumulation of metals into plants and micro-organisms.

I don't know enough about biology to say whether this renders them any less harmful, but I wouldn't bet on it.

I don't know either, but that does sound like the process that these supplements supposedly put the metal through to make it water soluble so that it can be excreted.

Its possible that digestion frees the metal making it harmful again.
I expect that is the case. A caveat though, we are not good at breaking through the plant cell wall and so if the chelates are within the cells, we are not freeing as much of them as is actually in there.


I think at this point someone needs to contact a botanist, biologist, or chemist (or all three).
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#18 What'sAllThisThen

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 07:45 PM

Also, I just thought of a kink in all this. What if the plant actually chelates the metals as it grows rending the consumption as part of the plant non-toxic?

From the wiki: Most metal complexes in the environment and in nature are bound in some form of chelate ring, e.g. with a humic acid or a protein. Thus, metal chelates are relevant to the mobilization of metals in the soil, the uptake and the accumulation of metals into plants and micro-organisms.

I don't know enough about biology to say whether this renders them any less harmful, but I wouldn't bet on it.

I don't know either, but that does sound like the process that these supplements supposedly put the metal through to make it water soluble so that it can be excreted.

Its possible that digestion frees the metal making it harmful again.
I expect that is the case. A caveat though, we are not good at breaking through the plant cell wall and so if the chelates are within the cells, we are not freeing as much of them as is actually in there.


I think at this point someone needs to contact a botanist, biologist, or chemist (or all three).


I'm not sure if you meant, "we might not need to worry too much about the heavy metals in plants, because we might not be able to break them out." Or if you meant, "the ability of plants to remove heavy metals from the body might be limited because we can't break the cell walls."

If you mean the latter, you have to find a good source of Chlorella that has had its cell walls broken. Yaeyama seems to be one of the most respected sources.
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#19 recitative

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 08:33 PM

Lead induced oxidative stress: beneficial effects of Kombucha tea.

Dipti P, Yogesh B, Kain AK, Pauline T, Anju B, Sairam M, Singh B, Mongia SS, Kumar GI, Selvamurthy W.

Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Lucknow Road, Timarpur, Delhi-110054, India. rnprasad32@hotmail.com

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of oral administration of Kombucha tea (K-tea) on lead induced oxidative stress. METHODS: Sprague Dawley rats were administered 1 mL of 3.8% lead acetate solution daily alone or in combination with K-tea orally for 45 d, and the antioxidant status and lipid peroxidation were evaluated. RESULTS: Oral administration of lead acetate to rats enhanced lipid peroxidation and release of creatine phosphokinase and decreased levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) and antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, SOD and glutathione peroxidase, GPx). Lead treatment did not alter humoral immunity, but inhibited DTH response when compared to the control. Lead administration also increased DNA fragmentation in liver. Oral administration of Kombucha tea to rats exposed to lead decreased lipid peroxidation and DNA damage with a concomitant increase in the reduced glutathione level and GPx activity. Kombucha tea supplementation relieved the lead induced immunosuppression to appreciable levels. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that K-tea has potent antioxidant and immunomodulating properties.

Pub Med

#20 What'sAllThisThen

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 08:35 PM

I love Kombucha tea, but it's expensive unless you make it yourself. I've made a few batches, but I usually get tired of doing it.

#21 JasRonq

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 06:06 AM

A caveat though, we are not good at breaking through the plant cell wall and so if the chelates are within the cells, we are not freeing as much of them as is actually in there.


I'm not sure if you meant, "we might not need to worry too much about the heavy metals in plants, because we might not be able to break them out." Or if you meant, "the ability of plants to remove heavy metals from the body might be limited because we can't break the cell walls."

If you mean the latter, you have to find a good source of Chlorella that has had its cell walls broken. Yaeyama seems to be one of the most respected sources.

I actually meant the first, though the second is equally valid (though I have yet to find anything reliable to say that Chlorella can actually remove heavy metals.)

@recitative Good info though it is showing that antioxidants help greatly. True, but if the metals are allowed to accumulate we will need ever increasing anti-oxidant support to break even.

Edited by JasRonq, 15 February 2010 - 06:08 AM.


#22 chrono

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 06:39 AM

@recitative Good info though it is showing that antioxidants help greatly. True, but if the metals are allowed to accumulate we will need ever increasing anti-oxidant support to break even.


Lead poisoning has many physiological effects, only a few of which were examined in the paper on Kombucha. I don't think you can "break even" from lead poisoning by any amount of antioxidant application, merely prevent some of the damage it will cause in the body.
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#23 JasRonq

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 08:42 AM

Doing some reading and I have some helpful info. First off, there are a number of substances that actively compete with these toxic metals for absorption. if you never absorb it, it can't poison you, so try these first and at the same time as the heavy metal containing substance.
Zinc competes with Lead.
Calcium keeps lead and others out of our bones.
Selenium out competes Mercury.
Additionally Vitamin C can dislodge Lead and other heavy metals if used in large doses (many grams daily) but it removes ALL minerals so supplementation of good minerals is needed.
L-methionine and L-cysteine are sulphur donors and will help as well. Acetylated forms are absorbed better.
Alginic Acid from seaweed also removes heavy metals. Pectin from fruits also seems to help to some degree.
I've now also found more pages with fewer adds to support the chlorella idea and a lot of the chelation seems to be from the cell wall and the chlorophyll. Broken cell wall chlorella is necessary for good usage though.
MSM seems to help remove heavy metals. It makes the cell membranes more permeable allowing more transport in and out.

#24 zm3thod

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 05:38 AM

Does anyone else have an opinion on this?
If you use Bacopa, will this cause you to use less or be more cautious?

#25 Johann

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 01:13 PM

Does anyone else have an opinion on this?
If you use Bacopa, will this cause you to use less or be more cautious?

I was wondering about it since I came across the same info (hyperaccumulater) on wikipedia.

It could be that the metals are in a size that either won't be absorbed by
the body, or will only be absorbed in the smallest most infintesimal amts.

All I know is that there is not a single vitamin or supplment out there that does not have some scare attached to it.

Vitamin C was said to cause cancer. Beta Carotene- lung cancer. Vitamin E has some stigma. B vitamins are talked about with some degree of caution. Zinc causes prostate cancer. Green and Black tea have high levels of fluoride. Vitamin D used to be warned about. Brazil nuts may have some radioactive substance in them. Folic acid may cause colon cancer. Choline may cause colon cancer. Grapefruit causes cancer.
On and on and on....

But sometimes it is better to get the proper form. Such as Ester C instead of asorbic acid. And all tocopherols and tocotreniols instead of just tocopherol vitamin E.

#26 pauuul

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 07:13 PM

I happened across this product which I thought would be of interest. I don't think that this mechanism of action has been discussed here yet. Hopefully this will lead someone to research backing the claim.

heavy metal detox

#27 Johann

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 03:45 PM

I've read somewhere that bacopa removes aluminum from the brain...

#28 Rick1441

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 09:56 AM

I wonder what brands can be trusted.

Planetaryherbals seems good according to their website:
"Herbs are first checked in the traditional organoleptic manner (assessment of taste, smell, appearance, and relative quality) and are then subject to a variety of analytic tests. These include qualitative and quantitative analysis using ultraviolet and infrared spectrophotometry, thin layer chromatography (TLC), and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as well as Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) screening for heavy metals and full microbiological testing to ensure all herbs are free of pathogenic bacteria. All tablets meet the disintegration criteria of the United States Pharmacopoeia."


Re this and the subsequent post on Planetary Herbals: While they crow about their purity, and seem to be a highly-regarded brand in customer reviews at iHerb, they unfortunately have been flagged at least twice for lead contamination in two product composition/safety reviews at Consumerlab.com (as determined by the acceptable limit of 0.5mcg/serving in California, the only state that sets such limit). (ConsumerLab is a mostly-subscription site that independently tests randomly-selected supplements for quality.) For example, in the Jan 2006 review of Horny Goat Weed, the Planetary Herbls product was found to contain 2.98 mcg of lead per daily serving. And in the March 2004 Echinacea report they again failed to earn approval because ConsumerLab found lead in excess of 2.5 mcg per day. Planetary hasn't been tetsed in any CL reviews since then, so it's possible they've cleaned up their act. And maybe the CA limits are lower than necessary for healthy people. But I'd recommend caution. The most trustworthy brand that seems to make Bacopa is Swanson. However, the fact that Swanson rarely fails a CL test has to be taken with a grain of salt, because they usually participate in CL's "voluntary certification" program, in which they pay to get tested (instead of waiting to be randomly picked), and then their product is listed in the test results only if it passed. But overall, I trust Swanson -- certainly more than Planetary or Paradise Herbs. I see that Vitamin Shoppe has proprietary Bacopa, and they are usually pretty trustworthy as well. BTW, I took Bacopa several years back when it was only readily available in Australia, and it did nothing for me; you probably shouldn't bother with *any* brand. BTW, unlike CL, the United States Pharmacopoeia doesn't make ANY brand test failures public, even to subscribers. They don't even detail their methods for each supplement, as CL does.

#29 chrono

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 10:08 AM

That's good to know. Could you list some more brands that have passed certification (recently)?

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#30 Shay

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 05:07 PM

That's good to know. Could you list some more brands that have passed certification (recently)?


I'm curious about AOR brand, Bacopa Enlighten.




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