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Codex Alimentarius - read this about the destruction of health supplements

(10 Posts)
mamadadawahwah Thu 21-Jul-05 12:59:20

If you care about nutritional supplements, you will be interested in this. 200 supplements will be off the shelf at the end of this month. Basically "they" want supplements to be patented and regulated like food stuffs so they can charge an arm and a leg for it (they = pharma companies)

MeerkatsUnite Thu 21-Jul-05 13:36:46

Its not the pharmaceutical companies that have proposed this ban at all - its the EU.

Under the EU Food Supplements Directive, due to come into effect in August, supplements will only be able to include vitamins and minerals taken from an approved list.

Minerals not currently on the approved list include tin, silicon, nickel, boron, cobalt and vanadium.

However, manufacturers of products already on the market will have until the end of December 2009 to change any of the banned ingredients to ensure that their product can continue to be sold in the future.

motherinferior Thu 21-Jul-05 13:58:56

Personally I'd rather like stuff that people ingest to be subject to regulation. And indeed for more emphasis on proper food than supplements.

aloha Thu 21-Jul-05 14:03:05

But this has nothing to do with nutrition or safety, it is a pointless and possibly harmful harmonisation exercise. There have been no deaths or serious illnesses ever recorded in the UK from taking supplements. Boron is a very important mineral for bone health.
I am FAR more concerned about children consuming artificial colourants than nutrients, for example. In fact, I am not in the least concerned about vitamin and mineral supplements as they don't do harm! I think this has to be a case where we should be free to take supplements.
I suspect that people who take supplements are probably far more likely to eat a healthy diet than those who don't.

aloha Thu 21-Jul-05 14:03:28

Sorry MI - I think we disagree on this one.

Jimjams Thu 21-Jul-05 14:08:24

agree aloha. there is a useful website about all this here - it's not as bad as it could have been.

The kiddies supplements that would have remained- no matter the ruling- are absolutely full of colourings and other crap. Wouldn't let ds1 near them. The ones we give him are OK under this ruling, but would have been the sort of thing at risk of being withdrawn if the full ruling had been put in place.

MeerkatsUnite Thu 21-Jul-05 14:12:36

More than 21m Britons are on supplement pills, many having lost track of what they actually do. Yet they have become a sort of health insurance policy for the modern age, despite the fact that recent studies have suggested vitamin C does little to stop you catching a cold. But taking supplements cannot do you any harm. Or can it?

A European Court judgment last week upheld a European Union ruling preventing the sale of certain vitamin and mineral supplements whose health benefits have not been proven. Officials have drawn up a “positive list” of 112 that have been verified: everything else is effectively banned. British health food retailers and nutritionists have, however, appealed for a further 500 to be added to the list and they are now under review.

Once the list has been dealt with, the EU will explore the upper limits of vitamin dosage permissible and, later still, it is expected herbal supplements will come under scrutiny. Many nutritionists are up in arms, arguing that meddling Eurocrats are limiting consumer choice. Others — mostly dieticians — say it’s time this all but unregulated area was taken into hand. Vitamins and minerals, they say, can be harmful.

Too much vitamin C, for example, can give you mouth ulcers and diarrhoea. You can get kidney stones if you overdose on calcium. Excessive iron intake can prompt digestive problems and increase the risk of bowel cancer.

The checkout girl at Boots or Holland & Barrett can hardly be expected to be au courant with all of this and neither can consumers. Yet so-called megadoses of supplements are highly popular, on the basis that our fruit and vegetables have fewer nutrients than they used to and the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins and minerals established 50 years ago is out of date.

This kind of self-medication, however, can be dangerous. Catherine Collins, chief dietician at London’s St George’s hospital, once treated a patient who had overdosed on vitamin A and suffered liver failure. The pills, manufactured in Korea, contained 10 times the recommended amount.

Such cases are rare, though. A normal dose of over-the-counter medicine such as paracetamol does more toxic damage to the body than any vitamin.

Collins has welcomed the EU directive but believes there should be tighter controls and regulations on supplements. “They should be treated in the same way as paracetamols, not Smarties,” she said.

“There’s nothing wrong with taking a multivitamin a day but the trend now is for people to look for problems in their health where there aren’t any.

I personally agree with Mother Inferior. Natural does not always mean safe and people do take these things as a form of "health insurance" for problems that are not there in the first place. There is also a lot of money to be made out of selling such products also.

aloha Thu 21-Jul-05 14:17:29

But why should the EU be regulating what is essentially a very safe product. The very fact that all they can come up in the way of a scare story is one person who took a form of vitamin pill that came from Korea and that has never been available or would be available in the UK shows just how safe these products are. You can get diarrhoea from fruit, fgs, it's hardly life threatening.
In this country we are actually more likely than not to be deficient in minerals and vitamins. Very few of us get enough iron or calcium. Very few of us even take folic acid tablets in sufficient quantities or for enough time before conception. I just do not believe that we are overdosing on vitamins. We are more likely to be underdosing.

aloha Thu 21-Jul-05 14:19:18

Btw vitamin C does shorten the duration of a cold and reduce severity.
Fish oil supplements improve children's attention span and behaviour and are amazingly good at alleviating depression and PND.
Folic acid supplements prevent babies born with lifelong disabilities.

Jimjams Thu 21-Jul-05 14:23:17

yup precisely aloha.

You can by the way get supplements that are listed in the US equivalent of Mimms etc - tested to pharmaceutical standards. of course they cost more- like most things in life you pays your money you takes your choice.

very hard to overdose on vitamin A without really going out of the way to do it. I have never come across a supplement (except good old cod liver oil- and how many years has that been around?) that contains vitamin A. Caretenes - yes- which are then converted to vitamin A- but you can't overdose on them (well you can but you just go orange- rather than get liver damage- happened to someone I knew with an eating disorder but in her case from eating carrots, rather than any supplements she took).

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