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ANH-International Executive and Scientific Director Dr. Rob Verkerk Publishes Article In Respected Scientific Journal Explaining Why European Regulation Of Supplements Based On Bad Science

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businessman at workA study just published in a leading peer-reviewed journal argues that the European Commission’s proposal to limit the maximum legal doses of vitamins and minerals in food supplements is scientifically invalid.

The study’s author, Robert Verkerk, Ph.D., executive and scientific director of the Alliance for Natural Health-Intl, wrote: “When you dig into the complexity of risk and benefit relationships for nutrients as I have in this study, proceeding with the kind of approaches the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority and industry have been discussing over the last six or so years makes absolutely no scientific sense. The only rational way forward involves moving from the risk-only approach that has been considered up until now, to a risk-benefit approach. This means changing tracks.”
The study was published in the journal Toxicology — the official journal of the British Toxicology Society and the German Toxicology Society —just two months after the same journal ran an in-depth review of the scientific methods being considered by European authorities. The earlier paper was co-authored by Verkerk and Dr. Steve Hickey of Staffordshire University.
The latest study demonstrates that, if passed into law as proposed, the risk-based approaches under consideration by European authorities would forbid the majority of people from consuming truly beneficial quantities of vitamins and minerals.
According to Dr. Verkerk: “The problem is that the risks and benefits for most nutrients actually overlap. If you exclude all risks in the majority through statutory limitation as planned under the second phase of the EU Food Supplements Directive, you literally prevent people from accessing products containing levels that are good for them. You might stave off deficiency diseases, but you would also prevent many people from managing their health naturally. If we applied the same approach to wheat, dairy or peanuts, governments would have to ban these foods.”
Verkerk argues that dosages of individual molecular forms of vitamins and minerals should be addressed individually, rather than being subject to blanket levels applied universally to all forms of a given group of supplements.
“A good example of this, considered in detail in the paper, is that of folate,” Verkerk says. “There are more and more data pointing to health risks from long-term supplementation with more than 1000 micrograms daily of the synthetic form of folate, folic acid, that’s widely used in cheaper supplements. But the natural, non-reduced forms as found in green-leaved vegetables have a much wider range of benefits, and are known to exert their greatest benefits when consumed in significantly larger amounts.”
Verkerk insists that legislation establishing maximum levels of vitamins and minerals should not proceed until new methods for assessing both risks and benefits of individual types of supplements have been developed. In the words of Thomas Jefferson: “Delay is preferable to error.”
The paper also examines E.U. legislation regarding fluoride in supplements and water. Given the risks posed by fluoride to young children, Verkerk says, it is remarkable that mass treatment of public drinking water is still allowed in Ireland and the UK, the only two countries that fluoridate public water, and that the European Food Safety Authority continues to permit various forms of fluoride in supplements. Of course, these concerns are equally, if not more, applicable to the USA, where most municipal drinking water supplies are fluoridated.
The abstract and paper can be accessed here.

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