The council’s senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Andrew Shao told NutraIngredientsUSA.com: “The report reads as though it’s reasonable to allow people to live with nutrient inadequacies – CRN disagrees and believes that this is detrimental to consumers.”
It is better for consumers to meet their nutrient recommendations and assure nutrient adequacy at low-cost and with “… low/no risk, and no calorie contribution through reasonable use of dietary supplements, including a multivitamin,” he added.
Supplementation is particularly beneficial for women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant, and must ensure they are receiving at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to help prevent neural tube birth defects. The draft report simply relies on folic acid fortification and encourages women to get enough folate in their diets to prevent such birth defects, said the CRN spokesman.
But his organization believes women of childbearing age should take a multivitamin in addition to vitamins supplied by their diets to protect the health of the fetus. This is in-line with recommendations from the CDC, the IOM and the 2009 US Preventative Taskforce, according to CRN.
Shao also disputed the report’s claims that Americans rely on dietary supplements, including multivitamins, as a substitute for a healthy diet, or to make up for a poor diet. “Our research shows that consumers who take dietary supplements tend to engage in other healthy behaviors, such as trying to eat a balanced diet and getting regular exercise, more so than those consumers who do not take supplements,” he added.
The vice president’s comments to NutraIngredientsUSA.com followed his oral evidence to a public meeting held in response to the DGAC draft report. His aim was provide United States Agriculture Department (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with a prelude to CRN’s written comments.
“We hope they will take them into consideration, and urge them not to take a step back when it comes to supplements and the important role they play in supporting nutrient adequacy,” said Shao.
The organization is to supply written comments on July 15th.
The draft report, covering a range of foods and nutrients, took two years to prepared and made only minor changes to the 2005 guidelines.
Its executive summary stated: “A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement does not offer health benefits to healthy Americans.”
To remedy shortfalls in essential nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber, the report recommends, “nutrient-dense forms of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fluid milk and milk products”.
A copy of the report can be accessed here.