ANH Update 9/2/06

How Codex and other supplement regulation laws may impact the availability of supplements

ANH Update 9/2/06

Postby pcnetwrx » Sat Sep 02, 2006 6:39 pm

European plans to outlaw therapeutic nutrients

This month?s hot topic, as consultation with the European Commission and the UK Food Standards Agency nears its completion, is the issue of maximum permitted levels in food/dietary supplements. This can also be seen as a very clever way of using a misplaced safety argument to ban any nutrient that could be used in place of a drug ? without side-effects! Industry has been invited by the European Commission, via each Member State?s competent authority, to comment on this crucial issue by 30th September 2006. We summarise below:

The ANH has been at the forefront of demonstrating the flawed science behind the risk assessment methods being contemplated by European regulators for use on nutrients. These flawed methods are in our view the single biggest threat to our continued ability to use nutrients therapeutically. If we don?t change things now, we will effectively be forcing future generations to limit their healthcare options to drugs over nutrients and herbs.

Few people seem to have their heads firmly around this intricate issue and admittedly, apart from being a lot less emotive than many of the current campaign issues, it is a deeply complex scientific conundrum.

Putting this issue in the ?too hard basket? is not an option. In a nutshell, the current risk assessment models are based around the precautionary principle and they massively overestimate risk for many nutrient forms. They use arbitrary uncertainty factors, and over-emphasise sensitivity. They also cluster diverse nutrient forms into nutrient groups (such as vitamin A, D and E, or zinc, selenium, chromium or iron) so that the maximum level of the most toxic form is imposed on all other forms in the same group.

o eg, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is rapidly being recognised as a powerful anticancer pre-hormone when used daily in doses of 2000 IU (50 mcg) and above. Bear in mind your body will synthesise 20,000 IU naturally when exposed to an hour or so of summer sunshine assuming you?re in your swimming kit or less. Under the current model of risk assessment, the more toxic form of the group, vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), found in most high street supplements, is used to set the upper safe limit according to the adverse effects related to D2. To the lay person this might seem reasonable, but in practice it means that the proposed maximum permitted level for vitamin D3 might end up around 200 IU, the level as set by the German Risk Assessment Institute (BfR), one of the leading European bodies driving risk assessment in Europe. This will seriously reduce the therapeutic range of D3 ? and the same problem can be demonstrated for a host of other

We will be continuing our work in this area via the submission to the European Commission at the end of September and through Dr Verkerk?s contribution to the Electronic Working Group on Risk Assessment for the Codex Alimentarius Commission. We have some key developments in this field in the pipe-line and in future eBlasts we will be able to communicate developments from the coal face ? watch this space!
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