As the debate rages in Europe as to the impact of the European Commission’s planned proposed banning of high dose food supplements currently sold in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden, three new pieces of research reveal the importance of higher supplement doses.

The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) has long argued that the methods being used to determine safe maximum dosages by European regulators are flawed; greatly over-estimating risks and completely ignoring the benefits of higher dosages. The natural health campaign organisation upholds that three pieces of research published in the high impact US-based medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine provide further justification for a complete review of the methods being used to limit higher dose supplements by the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority.

Dr Robert Verkerk, executive and scientific director of the ANH, says, “These latest studies, all published in single edition of Archives of Internal Medicine, provide important information about the roles of B vitamins in age-related macular degeneration, calcium in cancer prevention and vitamin D in reducing the risk of upper respiratory tract infections. In all cases the levels that delivered the best results, were the highest doses tested and these levels are well over those that the European Commission wants to see banned.

In a recent presentation at a public meeting of the Food Safety Consultative Council of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Dr Verkerk demonstrated that the amounts of vitamins and minerals commonly consumed in a single healthy meal are often well in excess of those that are considered as ‘maximum safe levels’ by European regulators. He also demonstrated how they may even be exceeded in a single junk meal.

Dr Verkerk added, “There is an increasing body of science, to which these new papers in Archives of Internal Medicine contribute, that shows high doses of supplements are both safe and effective.  To get some perspective on it, the levels found to be most beneficial in preventing macular degeneration were over 12 times the RDA of folate, 25 times the RDA of vitamin B6 and 1000 times the RDA of vitamin B12.”

The ANH is continuing to push European regulators and Member States to accept a more rational scientific and legal framework for harmonising food supplement maximum doses. This includes the use of more scientifically robust risk management models and the implementation of partial rather than full harmonisation that would allow Member States some latitude to exceed harmonised levels for products sold within their national boundaries given the varying nutritional requirements of different populations. The ANH is also strongly in support of a graduated approach to risk management that involves implementing maximum levels only for those nutrients that could present a significant risk to consumers, whilst requiring warning statements for particular consumer groups who might be at greater risk following long-term use. 



ANH evaluation of the three papers in Archives of Internal Medicine 


About the Alliance for Natural Health

The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) is an international, non-governmental organisation, based in the UK. It was founded in 2002, and works on behalf of consumers, medical doctors, complementary health practitioners and health-product suppliers worldwide, to promote natural and sustainable health, using the principles of good science and good law.