The American provider of consumer information ConsumerLab.com, released on August 16 the results of its Phyto-oestrogen Product Review. The review focused on dietary supplements made from soy and red clover isoflavones. Isoflavones are oestrogen-like plant compounds used primarily to treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with oestrogen is associated with various side effects. Although not as effective as HRT, isoflavones have become popular alternatives due to fewer side effects and greater availability. ConsumerLab.com purchased and tested 18 products for their isoflavone levels. Currently, the US Food and Drug Administration, other federal or state agency do not routinely test phyto-oestrogens products, or other supplements, for quality prior to sale. Over 25 per cent of the 18 isoflavone products purchased by ConsumerLab.com did not pass the testing. The five failing products had only 50-80 per cent of the claimed isoflavones. "Some manufactures are just not putting in the proper type or amount of isoflavones," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., ConsumerLab.com's President. "Our testing also uncovered a more global concern for consumers: The term 'isoflavones' on a label may specifically refer to just the 'like-like' isoflavone molecules or may include sugars attached to these molecules. The sugars can account for as much as 40-50 per cent of the claimed isoflavone weight, making it hard to judge the potential potency of a product simply claiming to contain 'isoflavones'," added Dr. Cooperman. "More descriptive labelling and adherence to claims is needed among phyto-oestrogen products. Otherwise consumers cannot be sure of what they are getting."