Wednesday, March 04, 2009


For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2009

US Contact:
Tami L. Wahl, 800.230.2762

International Contact:
Dr. Robert Verkerk, 44.1306.646.600

Calcium, B Vitamins, and Vitamin D Play Important Roles

Three new pieces of research reveal the importance of higher supplement doses. The February 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, a highly respected, peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association, includes three studies that demonstrate the benefits of high-dose nutritional supplements, which suggests that the methods being used to determine “maximum safe dosages” in the US and Europe are greatly flawed.

The American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) and its European counterpart, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), have long argued that the methodology used to determine dosage greatly overestimates the risks—and completely ignores the benefits—of higher dosages. Dr. Robert Verkerk, Executive and Scientific Director of ANH, commented, “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.”

Dr. Verkerk continued, “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 (EC) wants to see banned.” The EC is pushing for very low MPLs, or Maximum Permitted Levels, for supplements sold in Europe, creating concerns that the high-dose supplements commonly consumed in Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, and Sweden may be stripped from shelves.

AAHF Legislative Director Tami Wahl agreed: “Vitamins and supplements, combined with other healthy habits, play an integral role in the prevention of many medical conditions and diseases. Our concern is that the dosage amounts currently recommended are simply not adequate to yield protective effects.”

Dr. Verkerk added, “There is an increasing body of science, which these new papers in Archives of Internal Medicine support, 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 twelve times the US’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of folate, twenty-five times the RDA of vitamin B6, and 1000 times the RDA of vitamin B12.”

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 to be “maximum safe levels,” and may even be exceeded in a single unhealthy meal!

AAHF Executive Director Gretchen DuBeau adds, “Recent studies—which were funded by pharmaceutical manufacturers - that questioned the benefits from supplement use have not been based on good science and create unfounded confusion for consumers who are simply trying to make the best and most informed healthcare decision. Ironically, most of the recent studies questioning the efficacy of vitamins have used minimal doses, not the potentially helpful doses tested in the three recent studies that found vitamins to be useful.”

AAHF believes that any type of noninvasive and inexpensive treatment that assists in the prevention of life-threatening or life-changing diseases like age-related macular degeneration should be strongly encouraged and endorsed by the medical community as a whole. AAHF continues to push US regulators to accept a more rational scientific and legal framework in creating food supplement maximum doses.

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About the American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF):

AAHF is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization that protects Americans’ rights to access integrative medicine and dietary supplements. AAHF protects the right of the consumer to choose and the practitioner to practice by lobbying Congress and state legislatures; educating the public, press, and decision-makers on integrative medicine; initiating legal activities; and joining and forming significant coalitions.

About the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH):

ANH is an international, non-governmental organization, 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.