Supplements use remains steady
Despite numerous maligning media reports, supplements use hasn't been affected, according to a new report by Washington, D.C.-based Council for Responsible Nutrition. In fact, the study found 65 percent of Americans take dietary supplements, bringing the number back up to 2003 levels after a slight dip and climb in 2004 (62 percent) and 2005 (64 percent). The telephone survey of 1,002 adults, conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs, also found that 29 percent identified themselves as regular users. CRN and Ipsos also conducted a companion Internet study of 2,022 adults. That study found 66 percent take supplements and 49 percent identified themselves as regular users.
In a release, Judy Blatman, vice president of communications for CRN, said, "There are a variety of reasons why different methods of collecting data might yield different results. For example, we believe that those who use the Internet regularly may be more likely to take control of their own health-care choices, with an increased ability to research healthcare issues and products."
The telephone survey found that 69 percent of consumers expressed overall confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements. This, however, is a continued decline from 2001 (74 percent) and 2004's high of 78 percent. Again, the Internet survey found more promising results, with 79 percent expressing confidence.
In the same release, Steve Mister, president and chief executive officer of CRN, said, "We need to start telling our own story—to refocus the discussion on who takes supplements, why they take them and the health benefits supplements provide. There are also several projects underway that should make a difference, including a new self-regulatory advertising initiative introduced by CRN in partnership with the National Advertising Division [of the Council of Better Business Bureaus]." It will enable the NAD to bring an attorney on staff to focus exclusively on supplements. According to a CRN release, "The initiative is anticipated to address not only comparative advertising claims among makers of dietary supplements, but also substantive claims that are deceptive or misleading and clearly go beyond what's supported by research and allowed by law—claims that feed the public's distrust of the supplement industry."
Study finds new horizons for vitamin D
A new study has linked vitamin D intake with a lower risk for pancreatic cancer. The study, conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard Universities, found that those taking 300 to 449 IU/day of vitamin D had a 43 percent lower risk. Those taking below 150 IU/day of vitamin D had a 22 percent lower risk, while above 450 IU/day of vitamin D showed no extra benefit. The researchers wrote, "Our results point to a potential role for vitamin D in the pathogenesis and prevention of pancreatic cancer." The study was published in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 11/p. 30