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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Who, What & Why’s of Dietary Supplements


WASHINGTON—The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the Natural Products Association (NPA) hosted the Dietary Supplement Caucus this week on Capitol Hill for a briefing on the "The Who, What & Why’s of Dietary Supplements." More than 50 members of the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as various congressional committees attended the briefing, which featured presentations by CRN, NPA and Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ).

Among the highlights were:

Data presented from the 2007 CRN Consumer Confidence Survey and the 2007“Life...supplemented” Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study, showing 150 million American take dietary supplements annually, including 68 percent of adults.
Further, 72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses take supplements, with roughly 80 percent of each group recommending them to patients. Other data included geographical supplement usage and lifestyle trends among users.

The dietary supplement industry posted its best growth in 2007, 5.9 percent, since 1998, according to NBJ, which indicated omega-3, probiotic and superfruit supplements were the primary drivers; ranked in terms of sheer volume, not growth rate, multivitamins and sports formulas reigned supreme. NBJ further noted the important influence of two key regulatory milestones, the final good manufacturing practice (GMP) rules and the implementation of the serious adverse event reporting (SAER), as well as the monumental acquisition in 2007 of the faltering Leiner Health Products by NBTY.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health within the Energy and Commerce Committee and co-chair of the Dietary Supplement Caucus, discussed the importance of dietary supplements as key components of prevention and wellness. He also said dietary supplements and prevention would play important roles in the policy discussion during healthcare debates in Congress next year.

Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT), co-chair of the Dietary Supplement Caucus, noted, “The reason the supplement market has grown is due to supplement consumers using the products. And [what we see in this industry is] a terrific movement toward people taking care of their own health.”

The results from the Lewin Group studies, performed on behalf of the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA), were presented by Joan Davanzo, Davanzo & Dobson, who was affiliated with Lewin Group at the time of the studies. She reiterated the cost savings potential found for omega-3s ($3.2 billion), calcium/vitamin D ($16.2 billion), folic acid ($1.4 billion), and lutein/zeaxanthin ($3.6 billion), adding in stats for reduced hospitalizations for each ingredient/pair.

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