The Natural Products Association (NPA) is the nation’s largest association representing natural products and the leading representative of the dietary supplement industry. NPA Executive Director and CEO John Shaw and Senior Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Dr. Cara Welch respond to a Consumer Reports story about vitamins and other supplements:
John Shaw: “Consumer Reports distorts the facts with just another smear campaign against dietary supplements. Data from the government shows that supplements have an excellent safety record, especially considering the millions of supplements sold annually. Nothing in Consumer Reports should convince anyone to stop taking their supplements.
“Supplements are foods, not drugs. If a product makes disease claims or includes a drug, then it’s not a supplement. The legitimate supplement industry who we represent wants the criminals selling these illegal drugs out of business.
“Misleading stories like this one are especially unfortunate because they can hurt the mom and pop stores that sell natural products and supplements in communities across America. Tens of thousands of Americans depend on this industry for jobs. They are dedicated to supporting the healthy lifestyles of millions of people.
“Finally, the article offers advice on how to avoid choking. While this is no laughing matter, someone could choke anytime swallowing anything, not just supplements. This is another example of fear-mongering by Consumer Reports and using this issue as an argument against taking supplements is insulting to consumers.”
Cara Welch: “Consumer Reports makes the obvious points that nothing is risk-free and too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. Furthermore, it relies on disputed and inaccurate studies to draw the wrong conclusions. Consumers deserve better.
“For example, the American Heart Association has recommended a diet high in omega-3s and supplementation for those who cannot get enough from their diet. In addition, the federal government itself has approved health claims for supplements, such as associating vitamin D and calcium intake with a reduced risk of osteoporosis.
“Research shows that supplements can address nutritional deficiencies and improve overall health. Getting an adequate amount of nutrition from the diet is ideal, but unfortunately, many Americans are not getting the nutrients they need from the foods they eat. The Natural Products Association encourages a healthy lifestyle for all Americans with supplementation as needed. As always, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements."