Natural health industry group applauds new Food Guide

TORONTO, ON – February 9, 2007 – The Canadian Health Food Association, the national association representing Canada’s natural products industry, applauds Health Canada’s recognition that supplements play a key role in helping Canadians maintain good health.

The new Food Guide recommends women of childbearing age take a multivitamin containing folic acid every day and suggests pregnant women ensure their multivitamin contains iron. In addition, Canada’s Food Guide informs Canadian men and women over the age of 50 that they require additional vitamin D and advises taking a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.

“The revised recommendations are in keeping with evidence-based research that shows supplements are a simple, cost-effective way to promote and maintain good health and help prevent chronic disease,” says Anne Wilkie, Vice-President and Head of Regulatory Affairs.

However, we encourage the government to go further. Leading health care economists continue to document the benefits and health care cost savings associated with regular supplement use.

For example, studies by University of Guelph’s Dr. Bruce Holub indicated that $3.26 billion would be saved annually in health care costs with daily use of a natural plant sterol that could possibly decrease risk of heart disease by 20 per cent. Another $6 billion annual savings would be realized in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis, hypertension and stroke, with daily use of omega 3 fatty acids, flaxseed and folic acids.

Further, a study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Canada in August 2006 indicated all women of childbearing age should be taking a prenatal multivitamin every day. Doing so dramatically reduces the incidence of risk of birth defects, such as neural-tube defects, cardiovascular defects, limb deformities, cleft palate, and urinary-tract defects. The research is an analysis of all of the studies on the topic from 1996 to 2005.

In addition, recent research on vitamin D from the University of California found increasing daily intake of this vitamin could prevent the development of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. The results, published online in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, found that patients who took additional vitamin D had a reduced incidence of these two types of cancer.

The revised food guide recommendations support consumers in their quest for optimal health and well being and acknowledges the increasing level of awareness and use of natural health products (NHPs), such as multivitamins, amongst Canadians. Seven in 10 Canadians have used NHPs with the intention of maintaining and promoting personal health as reported by Health Canada in a benchmark survey of NHPs in March 2005.

The confirmation provided by Canada’s Food Guide of the role supplements play in promoting and maintaining good health and preventing chronic disease should provide impetus to all levels of government to fund research into the health benefits and health care cost savings of regular supplement use. In addition, the CHFA encourages all levels of government to investigate tax incentives to encourage self-care through healthy eating and supplement use.

The Canadian Health Food Association strongly supports the progressive thinking and acceptance of changing consumer dietary habits behind this document.


For further information, contact Natalie Cajic, Communications Coordinator at 416-497-6939 ext. 234, 1-800-661-4510 or [email protected].

The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) is Canada’s largest national trade association representing the organic and natural products industry. Its members include over 85 per cent of the retailers, suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers that are involved in a variety of industry sub-sectors such as vitamin and mineral supplements, herbals, homeopathics, sports nutrition products, natural foods and organic products. Our members’ products support Canadians seeking optimal health and quality of life.

The CHFA exists to empower and support our members by acting on their behalf to secure a fair regulatory environment, hosting forums that showcase innovative products, delivering ongoing vital and relevant education, and providing valuable member services. This ensures that our industry is sustainable and stronger both culturally and financially.

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