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Vitamins and Minerals Are Essential to Good Health

CRN responds to misguided editorial in Annals of Internal Medicine

In response to an editorial, “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry, issued the following statement:

Statement by Steve Mister, President & CEO, CRN:

“The editorial demonstrates a close-minded, one-sided approach that attempts to dismiss even the proven benefits of vitamins and minerals.

It’s a shame for consumers that the authors refuse to recognize the real-life need for vitamin and mineral supplementation, living in a fairy-tale world that makes the inaccurate assumption that we’re all eating healthy diets and getting everything we need from food alone.

We would not suggest that vitamin supplements are a panacea for preventing chronic disease, but we hope the authors would agree that there is an appropriate place for supplements. Given that government research repeatedly demonstrates that the typical consumer diet is falling short on critical nutrients, vitamin supplements are an appropriate option to meet those needs.

With regard to safety issues, the USPSTF draft recommendation, the basis for which comes from a study in the same issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, did not identify safety concerns for vitamins at nutritional doses. Specifically, several scientific authorities have dismissed the concerns raised by the editorial for vitamin E, including this USPSTF report, which states “The USPSTF found adequate evidence that supplementation with vitamin E has little or no significant harm.”

The concerns around beta carotene are isolated to high doses in smokers, and are not a concern for the majority of consumers taking a multivitamin; we would however recommend that smokers pay strict attention to their beta-carotene intake under the advice of their doctor.

The evidence does not indicate any real health risk for multivitamin use. Further, the authors attempt to ignore the very real benefits for reducing the risk of cancer and cataracts found in the Physicians’ Health Study II. These findings are even more impressive by the fact that the benefits were found in a well-nourished population, and we haven’t yet begun to explore the potential benefits for most Americans who are not eating a healthy diet and have nutrient inadequacies.

So we agree enough is enough. Stop the reductionist approach to nutritional research. Stop insinuating there is evidence of harm. Stop ignoring the scientific evidence that demonstrates there is value to getting your essential nutrients. There is plenty of scientific evidence that recognizes that vitamin and mineral supplements have a role in good health for all Americans.”

About the Council for Responsible Nutrition

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 100+ dietary supplement manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics.

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