Key House Panel Directs USDA to Consider Funding Multivitamins for Use in WIC Program

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Key House Panel Directs USDA to Consider Funding Multivitamins for Use in WIC Program

A key House Panel directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Nutrition Services (FNS) to prepare a report assessing the benefits of allowing vitamins to be purchased through the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC).

“Women, infants and children utilizing the WIC program deserve equal access to and should be allowed to purchase vitamins,” said Dan Fabricant, CEO and executive director of NPA (Natural Products Association).  “The Committee’s instructions are a step in the right direction towards addressing the crisis of undernourishment in America.”

Vitamins are proven to have many health benefits especially relevant to those the WIC program intends to help:
· Classic nutrient deficiency diseases (scurvy, pellagra, and iron deficiency anemia);

· Improve appetite and growth rates in low-income children;

· Prevent neural tube birth defects;

· Protect against heart disease and stroke; and

· Build bone mass in the young.

“We will continue to look for policy options to improve access and availability to products that support a healthy lifestyle for American consumers,” Fabricant said.

NPA also sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations expressing its strong view that the WIC program should be expanded to include the purchase of multivitamins and multiminerals.

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Health Care Cost Savings Through Supplementation

Multi racial boomer women

The latest study demonstrates that significant cost savings can be realized by health care payers such as insurance companies and consumers through the use of dietary supplements that have a demonstrable and substantial effect on the risk of costly disease related events in targeted high risk populations.

We’re all used to hearing stories about how nutritional supplements are a waste of money or even dangerous. Now we have a study that breaks down how many billions could be saved and points out  just how effective nutritional supplements can be in the move toward national wellness.

Published by Lauren Cohen

WASHINGTON, D.C.An educational briefing, “Smart Prevention: Health Care Cost Savings Utilizing Dietary Supplements,” was held for Capitol Hill staff this week by the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus (DSC), in cooperation with the leading trade associations representing the dietary supplement industry—the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products Association (NPA), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA).

This was the third DSC educational briefing for the 113th Congress and the 18th briefing since the DSC was formed in 2006.  The focus was a new report by economic firm Frost & Sullivan that examined four different chronic diseases and the potential for health care cost savings when U.S. adults, 55 and older, diagnosed with these chronic diseases, used one of eight different dietary supplement regimens.

The report, “
Smart Prevention—Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements,” presented by Steve Mister, president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation, which commissioned the report, demonstrated that supplementation at preventive intake levels in high-risk populations can reduce the number of medical events associated with heart disease, age-related eye disease, diabetes, and bone disease in the United States, representing the potential for significant cost savings.

“Chronic diseases are one of the greatest contributors to health care costs in this country,” said Mr. Mister. “If we can identify and motivate those at risk to effectively use dietary supplements, we can control rising societal health care costs, but also give sick individuals a chance to reduce the risk of costly events and, most importantly, to improve their quality of life.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 75 percent of total health care expenses are spent on caring for people with preventable diseases, with only three percent spent on prevention. Between 2013 and 2020, the number of people with preventable diseases is likely to increase, as projected by the report. For instance, the number of U.S. adults over the age of 55 with coronary heart disease (CHD) is expected to rise 13 percent. However, if these same U.S. adults with CHD take phytosterol dietary supplements at
preventive intake levels, the risk of having a CHD-related medical event can be reduced by 11.2 percent, saving our system $26.6 billion over the next seven years.

“This report reiterates what the dietary supplement industry has advocated for over the last several decades,” said John Shaw, executive director and CEO of NPA. “Nutritional supplements proactively contribute to the overall health and well-being of American consumers. But as we can see from this data, the benefits of supplementation are much more far-reaching, with the entire health care system seeing positive results from this common-sense approach to staying healthy.”

Mr. Mister added, “We urge those interested in lowering health care costs to listen closely because this is an opportunity for our society to start moving from sick care to smart prevention, and to reduce costs while doing so.

Nutritional Supplement Labels Influence Purchasing Decisions

Nutritional supplement products: Does the label information influence purchasing decisions for the physically active?

Nutritional Supplement LabelIn a study by Gary Gabriels and Mike Lambert in Nutrition Journal, 2013, 12:133 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-133, published October2, 2013, labels make all the difference when considering the purchase of nutritional supplements.

Purchasers of nutritional supplements span the range from interested first-time buyers looking for a result, to extremely savvy supplement users.You know people like them. They understand exactly what they’re buying and can tell you why they’re buying a particular supplement or nutritional formula and everything about the ingredients.

The conclusions reached by this study imply there is something deficient about nutritional supplements and that it’s chiefly because of marketing that consumers were influenced to answer the questions in this study. I’d love to see those questions.

It’s telling that the sub head for this study said purchasing decisions were by the “physically active”. How active they don’t say, but it would follow that if they were active at a competitive level, they would most definitely pay keen attention to the labels looking for banned substances.  They would also pay close attention not only to the label, but to any scientific studies that back up any claims about quality, performance or effectiveness.

The authors make the leap that any perceived or measured performance  enhancement is due to contaminants or adulterants and pointing to an opportunity to tighten up labeling requirements, communications and quality assurances.

Perhaps they aren’t aware of existing labeling requirements, quality assurance procedures, certification programs  and testing Natural Products Association Good Manufacturing Practices Seal of Approvalprotocols  that comprise good manufacturing practices followed by reputable  nutritional supplement companies.

It looks like yet another flawed study trying to make nutritional supplements look bad. The adverse effects reported in a one year term for the entire U.S. was 275, and most of those were caffeine related.

Pharmaceuticals and prescription drug deaths accounted for 37,485 fatalities in 2009 – more than all traffic accidents.

No one is talking about clamping down on those labels or the marketing that’s behind them. Pharmaceutical companies currently spend one-third of all sales revenue ($100 billion a year) on marketing their products – roughly twice what they spend on research and development. 

Some of that marketing buys ads in scientific journals and editorial influence. That makes it convenient to keep nutritional studies out of many journals, giving the impression there’s no science behind the claims.

Yet somehow we’re supposed to be worried about nutrition labels? Really?


The increase in sales of nutritional supplement globally can be attributed, in part, to aggressive marketing by manufacturers, rather than because the nutritional supplements have become more effective. Furthermore, the accuracy of the labeling often goes unchallenged. Therefore, any effects of the supplement, may be due to contaminants or adulterants in these products not reflected on the label.


A self-administered questionnaire was used to determine how consumers of nutritional supplements acquired information to assist their decision-making processes, when purchasing a product. The study was approved by the University of Cape Town, Faculty of Health Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee. The questionnaire consisted of seven, closed and open-ended questions. The participants were asked to respond to the questions according to a defined list of statements. A total of 259 participants completed and returned questionnaires. The data and processing of the returned questionnaires was captured using Windows-based Microsoft? Office Excel 2003 SP 1 (Excel ? 1985?2003 Microsoft Corporation). Statistica Version 10 (copyright ? Stat Soft, Inc. 1984?2011) was used to calculate the descriptive statistics.


The main finding of the study was that nearly 70% of the respondents who purchased supplements were strongly influenced by container label information that stipulated that the nutritional supplement product is free of banned substances. The second finding was that just over 50% of the respondents attached importance to the quality of the nutritional supplement product information on the container label. The third finding was that about 40% of the respondents were strongly influenced by the ingredients on the labels when they purchased nutritional supplements.


This study, (i) identifies short-comings in current labelling information practices, (ii) provides opportunities to improve label and non-label information and communication, and, (iii) presents the case for quality assurance laboratory ?screening testing? of declared and undeclared contaminants and/or adulterants, that could have negative consequences to the consumer.

What’s In Your MultiVitamin

By Rick Cohen, M.D.
Core 4 Nutrition
Targeted Solutions for Optimal Health and Performance

Top 10 Nutritional Supplemtents for WomenIf you’re like most busy people, you don’t always have time to eat regular, nutritious meals. As a result, You’re probably supplementing your diet with a multivitamin.  Multivitamin formulas contain a variety of different vitamins and mineral combinations.  But do you know what vitamins and minerals actually are?  Or how much of which ones you’re currently taking?

Vitamins are organic substances that are essential for life.  Almost all vitamins are phytonutrients, meaning they were originally sourced from plants.

The common textbook definition of a vitamin is “an organic substance that cannot be manufactured by the body but is regularly needed in small amounts to prevent a combination of symptoms (disease) that can develop over a relatively short term (months to few years).”  For example, if your diet is deficient in vitamin C, you will develop a set of symptoms known as scurvy. A lack of vitamin D will present in a set of symptoms called rickets, and too little vitamin B1 causes beri-beri.

Vitamins are also called micronutrients because the amounts that are required for normal functioning are very small, but very necessary.  Vitamins can be hormones, antioxidants or even the co-enzymes required for many metabolic functions. Among other things, vitamins help us digest our food, fight infection and manufacture new cells. Vitamins help our bodies operate fully and efficiently.

Unfortunately, almost all vitamins found in a typical multivitamin formula are isolates.  Isolated vitamins are an incomplete, albeit inexpensive, alternative to a whole food extract or concentrate. Isolated vitamins are missing the essential, naturally-occurring, food-based co-factors that allow the nutrient to be used most effectively by the body at a cellular level.

Nature always packages vitamins in groups; they were designed to work together to provide nourishment to the cells. Vitamin isolates, on the other hand, do not provide the same synergistic benefits. In fact, the body often responds to an isolated vitamin like it responds to a toxin—it rejects it as a foreign invader.

Minerals are naturally-occurring chemical elements found throughout the human body in the bones, muscles, teeth, blood and nerve cells.  Minerals support the health of virtually every human system; they influence everything from immunity to the beating of our hearts.  Minerals cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from foods or supplements.

Unfortunately, most multivitamins don’t contain real minerals; they contain mineral salts.  Even though mineral salts are often labeled as “natural,” they are fabricated from chemical substitutes. While mineral salts are natural food for plants, they are not a natural food for humans. As a result they are very poorly absorbed and ineffectively utilized by the body.

Now let’s return to our original question—what’s in YOUR multivitamin?

Although there are thousands of healthful phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables, most multivitamin brands contain only 12 to 25 ingredients, the majority of which are isolated and derived from a synthetic source.

The vitamins are classes or groups of related compounds that perform some function in the body. There are fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A, D, E and K and there are water-soluble vitamins including vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and the B vitamins, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenate), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalomin), and B15 (folate).

There are six major minerals your body needs to function. These include calcium, phosphorus, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. These minerals support many critical processes in human body, especially fluid balance, the growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, muscular and nervous system function.

Most multivitamins don’t contain enough of the major minerals, which our bodies need in relatively large amounts when compared to other nutrients—approximately one gram a day for most healthy adults.  And the minerals that are present are man-made (discussed previously), which are counter-productive because they interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.
Next are the trace minerals. These minerals are all essential for good health, but your body needs only a very small amount of them. Trace minerals are important for immune system function, energy, metabolism, and antioxidant protection. Trace minerals include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium. You may also see products that contain iodine, boron, nickel, silicon and vanadium in very small amounts.

It is also important to identify what ELSE is in your multivitamin.  Most conventional brands feature not only a low-quality, poorly-absorbed mix of synthetic chemicals, but a range of preservatives, additives, colors, fillers, processed oils and genetically-modified ingredients. Not vitamins, not minerals and not what I believe can even be safely classified as “edible.”

Here is the list of the OTHER ingredients found in the world’s best-selling multivitamin:

Microcrystalline Cellulose, Pregelatinized Corn Starch.  FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, , Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Hypromellose, Soy Lecithin, Magnesium Stearate,  Modified Food Starch, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate,  Sodium Aluminosilicate, Tribasic Calcium Phosphate.

When you consider the purchase of ANY nutritional supplement, remember what’s most important!

Should you choose a soup of man-made isolated chemicals that has no measurable effect on your health and well-being or a whole food formula crafted exclusively from fruit and vegetable concentrates and organic botanicals?  The answer should be easy. Getting the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals isn’t complicated or difficult when you use the right product—a pure, high-quality, food-based multivitamin that can be quickly and easily absorbed by your body.

Want to learn more about how to select and use a multivitamin formula?

Then visit us at  Here you can learn more about all the foundational nutrients your body needs for optimum health, energy and performance, including our “honest to goodness” multivitamin made exclusively from raw, organic, fruit and vegetable concentrates.

Have questions?  Contact me directly at



Health At Gunpoint

 Steve uploaded an interview with James Gormley, author of Health at Gunpoint.

James_GormleyWe, in America, enjoy unprecedented access to nutritional products. We are in a golden age of nutritional science where we have effective, safe and scientifically validated nutritional products. What many people don’t realize is that access to these nutritional products is not assured and is even at risk. I have been in the natural products industry for nearly 40 years. During that time there have been at least two major attempts by the FDA to remove natural vitamins and supplements from the market place. First in 1976 and then again in the early 1990s, Congress had to intervene with legislation to protect supplements from unnecessary and over zealous regulation.

The FDA has full regulatory authority over dietary supplements since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in 1994. (DSHEA). Since then, the FDA has become more active in it’s oversight of foods and supplements. The FDA seems to have a certain antagonism towards supplements and have made it very difficult for supplement manufacturers for decades. There are also international pressures to limit access to supplements and to restrict potencies. Many countries have limited access to supplements and some want to see those same restrictions in the American marketplace.


Most consumers are not aware that manufacturers are prohibited from discussing the science of their products.  Even when companies have credible scientific and clinical studies, companies cannot discuss the results of those studies or benefits of those products on health problems. The effect is that nutritional information is suppressed and consumers have a much more difficult challenge in getting credible information and choosing products. The FDA is of no help when it comes to promoting natural health.

In this book James Gormley traces the history of the natural health movement. He explores how big business, industry globalization and politics have affected the quality and production of food and nutritional supplements. Health at Gunpoint sheds light on the not so subtle attack on your nutritional freedoms.

About James Gormley

James Gormley is an award-winning editor and journalist with over twenty years of experience in the area of nutrition. He is the author of five other books including The User’s Guide to Brain-Boosting Supplements.

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