December 16/Washington/Press Release -- The Natural Products Association's senior vice president of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Cara Welch, Ph.D., and NPA CEO and executive director John Shaw comment on an editorial published in theAnnals of Internal Medicine that encourages consumers to avoid taking vitamin and mineral supplements:

Welch states, “The authors of this editorial base their argument against vitamins and minerals on the premise that most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death. But the authors’ hypothesis is flawed in that multivitamins are not intended to cure chronic disease or prevent death solely on their own. They are designed to address nutrient deficiencies, and to aid in the general health and well-being of consumers. Multivitamins are not meant to serve as the answer to all of life’s ailments; they are, however, an important piece of the puzzle in leading a healthy lifestyle.

"Dietary supplements are overwhelmingly safe, as even the studies the authors referenced in this editorial generally found no indication of harm from supplementation outside of some high-dose therapies. In fact, the trials the authors cited even demonstrated benefits in some instances, specifically a reduced risk of cancer in the Physicians’ Health Study II trial. Vitamin and mineral supplements are an excellent source of nutrition for those who don’t eat a complete diet, and consumers should not feel they are wasting their money.”

Shaw comments, “It’s extremely unfortunate to see this overblown editorial that aims to misinform consumers and attack our industry. It’s no secret that many consumers in this country don’t get the recommended nutrients from their diet alone, and multivitamin and mineral supplements are an affordable alternative. For the medical professionals who authored this piece to claim that the use of supplements is not justified, is, quite frankly, baffling.

"NPA is also concerned that these physicians would call for a halt in future prevention trials. It’s flat-out irresponsible that they wouldn’t want further studies on preventive care. Consumers should in no way be deterred from continuing to take the products that contribute to their improved health on a daily basis, and we encourage all consumers to discuss their dietary supplement regimen with their health care professional.”