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Editorials

The Antioxidant Sky is Not Falling
Alarmist headlines recently suggested that antioxidants and vitamins do not help you live longer and might even shorten life. Once again, the news media's impulse to sensationalize a story has skewed the factual data about supplements and delivered "the wrong message" to millions of people around the world. (March 2007)
 
DSHEA Ten Years Later: What Now?
Ten years after its passage, DSHEA is under seige. Industry leaders Loren Israelsen and Tom Aarts describe valuable strategies for protecting public access to dietary supplements. (June 2004)
 
Buyer Beware—False Claims for Dietary Supplements
Is the Web riddled with false health claims for dietary supplements—and if so, what should be done about it? (September 2003)
 
Death Sentence for Dietary Supplements
Senate bill 722 would create a mountain of useless paperwork, drive the cost of supplements through the roof, and remove many safe supplements from the marketplace. (July 2003)
 
Industry Needs To Re-Think DSHEA
Supplement industry leaders must address the realities of a post-DSHEA world by looking in the mirror and solving industry flaws. (April 2003)
 
Ephedra Warning Labels: Does FDA Know Best?
FDA proposes black box warning label on ephedra products even though evidence tying the herb to heart attacks, strokes, seizures and death is disputed. Is there a better alternative? (March 2003)
 
Ephedra—Lightning Rod For Controversyl
Ephedra has become a lightning rod for controversy about dietary supplement regulation. The recent death of Oriole pitcher Steve Bechler calls the safety of ephedra into question once again. (February 2003)
 
American Botanical Council Calls for Expert Herb Advisory Panel
Regulation of botanicals is a complex issue, according to the American Botanical Council, which recommends convening a panel of experts to evaluate quality, safety and efficacy of herbal products. (December 2002)
 
Public Safety And Health Freedom—Can We Have Both?
Controvery over ephedra, kava and other botanicals has sparked debate about evaluating supplement safety. A recent proposal from the Institute of Medicine deliberately avoids considering benefits, has inadequate safeguards for minimizing bias, and fails to consider the full impact on consumers. (September 2002)
 
Too Good To Be True?
The FDA's request for public comment on its policies for advertising and labeling after recent First Amendment defeats is a wonderful opportunity for consumers and the industry to provide feedback. With regulatory issues, however, things are rarely as they seem, and this situation may be too good to be true. (May 2002)
 
Supplement Group Targets Consumer Education
Recently formed to counteract negative publicity and misconceptions about supplements, the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) focuses on education of consumers and the media about health benefits of supplements. We asked several independent experts to assess the quality of information on DSEA's website, SupplementInfo.org -- and found that while this new approach to distributing information about supplements is constructive, the DSEA website does not yet live up to its potential. (January 2002)
 
Supplement Study In AMA Journal Shows Bias And Misunderstanding
A recently published article in the AMA's Archives of Internal Medicine finds that Americans are of mixed opinion when it comes to dietary supplement regulation. However, numerous statements and conclusions throughout the article suggest the Archives authors are deficient in their understanding of supplement regulatory statutes. Thus, we propose the article should not be relied upon for accurate reporting. Our analysis points out the nature of the bias underlying the Archives article, and suggests ways that future surveys could be improved. It also presents the downside to stricter, pre-market regulation of supplements, examines the advantages of a post-market regulatory scheme, and shows how self-regulation can benefit all concerned: the industry, consumers, and physicians. (August 2001)
 
MSNBC Report On Supplements Is Biased And Factually Inaccurate
The news story entitled "Unsafe supplements?" that appeared on MSNBC.com on April 10th is overflowing with questionable points, some of them factually inaccurate. The story relies on an unpublished report, and quotes anonymous experts and anonymous critics. Sources are primarily people who view supplements as dangerous. With only scanty information from other points of view, this news story is misleading and unbalanced. Our commentary clarifies the facts and provides another perspective. (April 2001)
 
New Source for Supplement News
Having a hard time making sense out of dietary supplements? With one in two Americans taking vitamins and minerals or botanicals, there's more interest in supplements than ever -- and less good information available. The Dietary Supplement shines a clear, impartial light on the subject, with intelligently written, science-based features and useful current news. Published quarterly, this 16-page newsletter is the best we've seen to date. (December 2000)
 
Best of Times - Worst of Times
Two studies of Chinese herbs, one in Belgium, the other in the US, bring the question of supplement regulation to the foreground once again. The apparently simple issue of consumer safety is complicated by protection of constitutional rights and preserving free market access. (June 2000)
 
St. John's Wort Vs. Prozac - All A Matter Of Perspective
Recent reports suggest that St. John's wort can be just as effective as prescription drugs for those suffering from mild to moderate depression -- but several key issues must be addressed before this and other herbal supplements will achieve wider acceptance in the American marketplace.
 
When Three Apples Are Rotten, Do We Throw Out the Whole Bunch?
Dr. Jonathan Collin's editorial in the December 1999 Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients calls for increased regulation of the entire vitamin industry because three of Europe's largest vitamin raw-material suppliers have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Our new columnist, Edward Fry, gives a sharp critique of Dr. Collin's reasoning and recommendations. (January 2000)
 
Research Information Is Good - More Is Better!
A new government website is taking the controversial step of publishing research results directly to the public. SupplementQuality.com applauds their innovative action -- which empowers consumers in their search for information to improve their health. (December 1999)
 
Dietary supplements: Safer than food - much safer than drugs
Dietary supplements enjoy a stellar safety record. They stand head-and-shoulders above the other three categories of consumables as distinguished by U.S. law: food, over-the-counter drugs, and prescription drugs. (May 1999)
 

 

 

   
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(c) Copyright 1999-2003 Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative. For permission to reprint, please contact our editor.