Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-9-2010
I addition to eating foods that support health and NOT ingesting foods and drinks that harm it, there are many other things that people can do to stay healthy or return to health. By itself exercise can work wonders. When combined with eating right, it can be quite powerful.
But for some kinds of health risks and for people who are already at risk from genetic sources or family history or having bad health habits previously, it has been very useful to life saving to be able to have access to supplements in the United States.
It’s probably possible to write a several hundred page book with all the supplements that have been proven to have such positive effects. But here are just two examples.
1. In my own case, there is a family history on my Dad’s side of the family for a risk of heart disease. Had I not learned to eat a heart healthy diet and already begun taking some heart supporting supplements, if I hadn’t already had a heart attack, my LDL cholesterol would likely have been well over 160 and my triglycerides over 150 which would have put me at high risk. But since I had done those things, when tested, my LDL was 130, low moderate risk; but not yet low. So I began taking 300 mg of niacin twice a day instead of once and taking 3 tablets a day of the sterol supplement beta sitosterol. When retested and since then, my LDL cholesterol has ranged from 95 to 106 which IS low risk. Even better, by eating wild caught salmon and taking omega 3 supplements and NOT eating junk food, my triglycerides are UNDER 50. Since my HDL also went from the 60’s and 70’s to the 84 to 96 range, my heart attack risk now is very, very low.
The evidence is clear. By combining eating right plus the exercise I was doing AND adding these supplements, the actual blood tests show, the supplements dramatically increased my chances of avoiding a heart attack completely or at least into my late 90’s instead of having one for sure instead or much earlier.
Had these supplements not been available or ten or more times as expensive, I would NOT have been able to do this and might even have already died of a heart attack.
So, continuing to have easy access to these supplements at their current moderate prices is extremely important to me personally.
In addition, tens of thousands of people who are doing likewise will add a massive load to our health care costs if they have the heart attacks and strokes they have been preventing because such supplements become unavailable or only available at levels too low to work or only available at horribly high prices.
2. We now know that a majority of people in the United States are deficient in vitamin D. And, perhaps less than 20 % of the people have blood levels high enough to support continued good health.
Recent research has also found that people actually need to take 2,000 or more iu a day of vitamin D3 to be in the best health and likely to stay that way. The old RDA of 400 iu is simply too little to do much more than prevent the very worst deficiency states.
The good news is that taking the amount of vitamin D3 we now know is enough to support good health is extremely cheap. It can literally cost less than $10 a month!
If this were to be changed due to vitamin D3 only being available in 400 iu doses or at $50 or more a bottle instead of $5, it would be a massive public health disaster adding millions of dollars to our health care costs and even braking our economy into a depression.
Here’s why it would be far better to make vitamin D3 available virtually for free instead of less available or only at extremely low dosages and far more expensive.
The other recent research shows that getting an optimum level of vitamin D3 tends to prevent autoimmune diseases and many if not most cancers. It sharply lowers the risk of getting heart disease and osteoporosis. It tends to prevent depression, particularly in the winter. It even helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease one recent study found.
There is a proposed bill not in the United States Senate that would virtually wipe out all our access to supplements once signed into law.
That’s why I think it’s extremely important for all the senators in the United States congress to vote against it and speak against it as well.
If it passes, hundreds of thousands of people will get diseases they otherwise would have avoided; and instead of our health care costs going up a bit more or going down they will increase sharply instead.
It would cause massive and avoidable suffering and great harm to the economy as well.
Here’s the information on the bill. This text explains why the bill is not necessary and how it would have these horrible effects on access to these supplements.
“TAKE ACTION AND TELL YOUR SENATOR NOT TO CO-SPONSOR THIS BILL
Senator McCain’s bill is called The Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA). It would repeal key sections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). DSHEA protects supplements if 1) they are food products that have been in the food supply and not chemically altered or 2) if they were sold as supplements prior to 1994, the year that DSHEA was passed. If a supplement fits one of these two descriptions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot arbitrarily ban it or reclassify it as a drug.
These protections are far from perfect. They discourage companies from developing new forms of supplements. New supplements may be arbitrarily banned by the FDA or adopted by drug companies in a way that precludes their further sale as supplements.
McCain’s bill would wipe out even the minimal protections contained in DSHEA. It would give the FDA full discretion and power to compile a discreet list of supplements allowed to remain on the market while banning all others.
Everyone knows that the FDA is friendly to drug companies (which pay its bills and provide good revolving door jobs) and hostile to supplement companies. Under this bill, this same Agency could quite arbitrarily ban any supplement it wished or turn it over to drug companies to be developed as a drug and sold for multiples of its price as a supplement.
The FDA will like this because it believes that it can more easily control a few industry giants. But isn’t it more likely that the industry giants will eventually gain control over the FDA?
The FDA is already misusing the adverse event reporting process that exists. Drugs rack up thousands of adverse event reports without any action. Just recently, the FDA yanked from the market a supplement product based on just a couple of alleged adverse event reports without even allowing the company (an old and respected firm) to provide any counter-evidence or counter-argument.
The bill also allows the FDA to yank a product (at the company’s expense) if there is a “reasonable probability” that it is “adulterated” or “misbranded”. Let’s remember that “adulterated” could mean there is a minor record keeping error on the producer’s part and “misbranded” can mean that the producer simply tells the truth about the product. An “adulterated” and “misbranded” supplement in Orwellian FDA speak may actually be both completely safe and effective.
We must prevent this bill from gaining traction! Protect your access to supplements by contacting your senators today and asking them NOT to co-sponsor the Dietary Supplement Safety Act but rather to oppose it.
McCain’s Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA) appears to be supported by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which is funded by major league sports teams including baseball, football and others. The recent suspensions of NFL and other professional sports figures is much in the news, and the goal of the sports industry appears to be to shift the spotlight from their players to the supplements industry. In his comments, Senator McCain cited six NFL players recently suspended for testing positive for banned substances and purportedly exposed to these substances through dietary supplements.
The problem here of course is one of illegal sale and use of steroids. So why dismantle the supplement industry in order to control already illegal substances?
The FDA currently has complete and total authority to stop illegal steroids and, more broadly, to regulate dietary supplements. If the agency were doing its job, it could and would have prevented the sale of illegal steroids. The answer to this problem is not to give FDA more power. The Agency simply needs to do its job.
Why would a bill be offered to solve an illegal steroid problem that does not really address the steroid problem but instead gives the FDA complete and arbitrary control over all supplements? The answer is simple.
There are a lot of vested interests which are threatened by supplements. Drug companies do not like them because they represent a low cost, safer, and often more effective alternative to drugs. The FDA does not like them because supplements do not come through the FDA approval process and therefore do not support the FDA budget.
Why not simply require that supplements be brought through the FDA’s drug approval process? Wouldn’t that create a level playing field?
That is probably the argument that Senator McCain has been sold. But it is a completely false argument. The FDA drug approval process costs as much as a billion dollars. It is not economically feasible to spend such vast sums on substances that are not protected by patent, and natural substances cannot legally be patented.
This is the great “Catch 22” of American medicine. The FDA, which is supposed to guard and promote our health, is hostile to the kind of natural medicine—based on diet, supplements, and exercise—that represents the real future of healthcare. The Agency has either been captured by drug interests or is trapped in a catastrophically expensive, toxic, and ineffective patented-drug model.
Senator McCain has no doubt offered this bill in good faith. But he has been sold a bill of goods by special interests..
This exceptionally bad bill also requires the reporting of all minor adverse events related to supplements. This is in addition to the already existing requirement to report adverse events. This will further stack the deck against small supplement companies by creating new, unnecessary, even more cumbersome, and of course very expensive administrative hurdles. The result: the consolidation of the supplement industry into a few big companies. If passed, this bill will likely result in the disappearance from store shelves of many supplements currently on the market. In addition to fewer supplements, there would likely be much lower doses available. Unbridled authority would be handed to the FDA, an agency that needs a top to bottom overhaul, not ever more power over our lives.
If McCain’s bill passes, we can look to Europe for a snapshot of what we may be in for: EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, has sharply reduced the list of available supplements and is in process of reducing potencies to ridiculous levels, such as less beta carotene than can be found in half of a large carrot. Europeans already look to the US to obtain their dietary supplements. If this bill passes, where will we obtain ours?”
To be sure there are supplements that are less effective or less health protective than the ones I’ve covered in this post. But there are so many that are of value, losing our access to them all will have undreamed of negative consequences of great magnitude.
So, please join me in asking your senators to oppose this bill also.