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Durbin: Don’t Take Our Sunshine Away!

Durbin: Don’t Take Our Sunshine Away!
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The “sunny” days of Americans being able to regenerate health with vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, could be over. Action Alert!

Last week, we detailed what we believe to be Sen. Durbin’s end game with regard to his new mandatory product listing bill for dietary supplements: the imposition of European-style restrictions on high-dose vitamins and minerals. For those who care about natural health, one of the most important threats is to high-dose vitamin D. Optimal levels of vitamin D support a breathtaking array of health benefits for brain health, heart health, bone health, immunity, and much more. If we want to preserve our ability to achieve optimal vitamin D levels, we must speak out vehemently against Sen. Durbin’s bill and any attempt to sneak this policy into other unrelated bills.

To recap the issue at hand: Sen. Durbin’s new bill requires supplement companies to register all their products with the FDA, the purpose of which is to allow the FDA to quickly scan the market for products to eliminate. Additionally, “registration” can easily lead to pre-approval, which will cause supplements to cost as much as drugs.

From previous versions of Sen. Durbin’s bill, we know the goal is for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to develop a list of supplements that can cause “potentially serious” adverse effects. NASEM flags these supplements for the purpose of adding a mandatory warning label, which is a prelude to removing them from the market. Because NASEM has already developed levels above which they believe nutrients can cause adverse events, we believe Sen. Durbin’s list will be used to remove high-dose supplements from the market, including vitamin D.

NASEM’s record on vitamin D is very concerning. This body of “experts” recommends that individuals aged 1-70 get 600 IU (15mcg) of vitamin D per day. NASEM also set the tolerable upper intake level (or UL) for vitamin D—that is, the maximum daily intake unlikely to cause negative effects—at 4,000 IU (100mcg) for those 9 years of age and older.

Integrative health experts will tell you that these levels are simply ridiculous. Those who follow these recommendations will not even come close to being able to take advantage of the therapeutic effects of vitamin D supplementation. Experts on vitamin D have reported that human toxicity begins to occur after chronic daily consumption of about 40,000 IU/day—ten times the upper level established by NASEM.

Further, The Life Extension Foundation conducted an analysis of vitamin D blood tests on supplement users taking between 800 and 2,600 IU a day. They found that 85 percent of these supplement users had insufficient vitamin D (less than 50 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D). Some recommend achieving circulating blood levels as high as 80 ng/mL vitamin D. Achieving such levels requires supplementing with about 5,000-8,000 IU vitamin D per day, perhaps even more, depending on the individual. (Achieving the right vitamin D levels is highly dependent on an individual’s biology and should be done in consultation with a healthcare professional because blood levels need to be monitored.)

But as we explained last week, the US is on the road to setting maximum permitted levels of nutrients in supplements as some European countries have been doing. Germany, for example, has set a maximum limit of 20mcg for vitamin D in supplements, which is 800 IU. Italy and France set the maximum level at 50mcg, or 2,000 IU. Sen. Durbin’s bill primes us for similarly draconian restrictions that will hurt our health.

What is especially outrageous about Sen. Durbin’s attack and the NASEM recommendations is that, by the government’s own accounting, 95 percent of Americans are not getting enough vitamin D. These and other nutrient inadequacies are helping to make us sick, but Sen. Durbin and his cronies care more about us buying expensive, dangerous drugs to treat these ailments than with helping us prevent disease with affordable and safe dietary supplements.

We should all care about the potential of vitamin D restrictions. It seems as though with each passing day, more information about the health benefits of vitamin D come to light. Here’s just a sampling of some of the incredible health benefits that will be more difficult to obtain if Senator Durbin gets his way:

  • Protecting the Brain. Adequate vitamin D levels are required for normal brain development. It supports the formation of new brain cells and is neuroprotective, helping protect brain cells from premature aging. Higher vitamin D levels are linked with better cognitive function and lower rates of cognitive decline and dementia.
  • Cardiovascular Health. Insufficient vitamin D is linked with increased rates of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and overall death due to cardiac causes. Increasing vitamin D intake can help reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease.
  • Metabolic Disorders. Diabetes is more prevalent in individuals with low serum vitamin D levels. Vitamin D administration reduces blood sugar, increases sensitivity to insulin, and may decrease the risk of developing full-blown diabetes.
  • Immune Enhancement: Noting that influenza epidemics are more common in the winter months, scientists have proposed that low levels of vitamin D may predispose individuals to succumbing to these potentially dangerous respiratory infections. Accordingly, there is also substantial evidence that vitamin D helps with COVID.
  • Bone Health. Even government health bureaucrats recognize the importance of vitamin D for bone health. Vitamin D helps maintain adequate calcium levels in the body, which is required for strong bones.

We cannot emphasize this point enough. If European-style standards come to the US, thousands of products would immediately be banned, a project made even easier by Sen. Durbin’s bill. This would be a disaster for public health.

The threat of Durbin’s mandatory FDA registration is urgent. Members of Congress do not understand the problems stemming from this mandate. They are currently considering attaching this proposal to the must-pass Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which means the legislation will be approved by the end of this September, along with any amendments that are attached. This could become law in a matter of a couple months if we don’t ensure that Congress understands why this is such a bad idea. We need to act now to preserve our freedom to stay healthy, naturally.

Action Alert! Write to Congress and tell them to oppose Sen. Durbin’s bill and mandatory product listing for dietary supplements. Please send your message immediately.

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