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Dietary Supplement Caucus hosts tenth Congressional briefing

The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus in cooperation with four supplement industry trade associations reached a milestone in hosting its tenth DSC Briefing on Capitol Hill since June 2008.

The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus (DSC), in cooperation with four supplement industry trade associations—the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products Association (NPA), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA)—reached a milestone in hosting its tenth DSC Briefing on Capitol Hill since June 2008.

The most recent Capitol Hill-based luncheon briefing was filled to capacity with more than 125 people present, and featured two speakers: former linebacker for the Chicago Bears and National Football League Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, and sports dietitian Dave Ellis, anti-doping chair and president of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA).

Mr. Ellis focused on the importance of proper nutrition for athletes and how supplements can play a valuable role in meeting the increased nutrient requirements due to depletions resulting from intense exercise and training. He advised athletes to focus on four key areas—including properly managing their food supply; being aware of which dietary supplements are “permissible;” getting consistent periods of rest; and making sure they get adequate amounts of quality foods. Mr. Ellis said proper nutrition is a powerful tool that “can really help an athlete outwork the competition.”

Mr. Butkus discussed his “I Play Clean” campaign, a national initiative geared at educating high school athletes about the impact and physical consequences of illegal anabolic steroid use. He also noted the difference between illegal steroids and dietary supplements, stating, “Dietary supplements are not steroids and steroids are not dietary supplements. There is a legitimate role for supplements in sports nutrition, with products like multivitamins, protein bars, powders, to name a couple.” Mr. Butkus continued, “There is no place [in sports] for products that are tainted with steroids or prescription drugs and are then illegally marketed as dietary supplements.” He pointed to the need to educate parents, athletes and team leaders about nutrition and proper training as strategies to help discourage young athletes from using anabolic steroids. More information, including a public service announcement, is available on the “I Play Clean” website.

The dietary supplement industry trade associations are also concerned that athletes may be unable to distinguish between legitimate dietary supplements and products that are illegally marketed as dietary supplements but in fact contain anabolic steroids or other pharmaceutical ingredients; therefore, the industry joined forces with FDA last December to support strengthened education and enforcement efforts in this area.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal products industry. AHPA is comprised of domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbs and herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs. Founded in 1982, AHPA's mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. Website:

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient 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 75+ manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit

The Natural Products Association (NPA), founded in 1936, is the largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry, representing more than 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids. As the leading voice of the natural products industry, the NPA’s mission is to advocate for the rights of consumers to have access to products that will maintain and improve their health, and for the rights of retailers and suppliers to sell these products. Visit

The United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) is an association representing many leading dietary supplement, functional food and analytical companies that share a commitment to provide consumers with natural health products of superior quality, benefit and reliability. Founded in Utah in 1991, UNPA was instrumental in the passage of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and continues to take a leadership position in regulatory issues and industry best practices. You may visit our website at

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