Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from Consumers for Health Choice

  We very much welcome the Committee's enquiry into EQUAL (Extend Quality Life) and are grateful for the opportunity to present this written submission.


  Consumers for Health Choice (CHC) is a non-profit making Europe wide alliance of consumer organisations, practitioner organisations and companies. CHC is just five years old, and works to protect the rights of millions of consumers to have continued easy access to safe dietary supplements and natural health products of their choice, at competitive prices. We have over 6,000 members, plus a data base of more than 250,000 supplement consumers who wish to defend their right to take responsibility for their own health without the use of pharmaceutical drugs.

  As an organisation looking after consumers' interests, we have detailed experience of the vital role played by higher dose vitamins and minerals in protecting and maintaining the public's health. Other food supplements and alternative therapies also contribute greatly to the prevention of disease and the treatment of age related ailments.


  In 1995, there were less than 9 million people aged over 65 in the UK. By 2030 there will be 50 per cent more—almost 14 million.

  In 1991, 21 per cent of the workforce was aged 20-34. By 2001, this will have dropped to 14 per cent.

  When the National Health Service was designed, life expectancy was around 50 years. Today it is around 80 years. The NHS was set up when 60 per cent of the population was under 20. Soon, 50 per cent of the population will be over 50.

  By 2031 the proportion of those aged over 60-65 compared with those of working age will have doubled.

  By 2021, 41 per cent of the population will be aged over 50 years.

(Source: Age Concern, 1999).


  The results of many studies carried out in the past few years have shown that dietary supplements have the potential to increase longevity. It is not just a question of living longer, but living better—a healthier, happier, more productive and creative life—and key nutrients have been shown to enhance energy, immunity, cognitive function and overall well-being.

  If life were split into two stages, development and decline, the turning point would be around age 33. At this point, if nothing is done to halt or reverse the changes, the body gradually begins to lose muscle and, with it, strength. Aerobic capacity starts to diminish. Metabolism slows, digestive tracts become less able to absorb nutrients fully. Bones become more fragile—and the immune system weakens.

  All this happens if you do nothing, if you make no attempt to offset the ageing process. While the majority of people only start to think of taking care of their health once they reach retirement age, such actions need to start a great deal earlier if quality of life is to be maintained. While it is never too late to make lifestyle and dietary changes, the three important factors for a long and healthy life: regular exercise, stress management and a healthy diet, seem to be regarded as more desirable than essential.

  These three factors are all within our own control, and yet, although they generally reach the New Year's resolution lists, most people never succeed with these changes for very long. We are most fortunate that in the UK we can easily purchase higher dose vitamins and minerals—probably the single most important factor in improving and maintaining good health and well being, but it is unfortunate that very little training is given to the orthodox medical profession about nutrients—and even less responsible information given to the public about the benefits of higher range supplements. The recent Mintel (May/June 1999) report on the sector Complementary Medicines says that out of 979 adults surveyed, 57 per cent would like to use supplements, but were unsure of what to buy. Mintel says that more information on the health benefits of products, and which ailments they can be used to ease, should be better communicated through product labels, as well as at the point of sale and through advertising. Mintel acknowledges that makers of unlicensed products (including herbal remedies and dietary supplements) are held back by current health claims legislation.

  Because dietary supplements are classified as foods, manufacturers cannot make health-related claims for them, even though there is an overabundance of good science world-wide to confirm their advantages. Age related illnesses such as Osteoporosis, Heart disease, Cancer, Dementia, Arthritis, Rheumatism and others could all be improved or their onset delayed by long term use of higher range food supplements. While our National Health Service struggles to treat people when they fall ill, there would be colossal savings in both time and resources to be made if we could slow down the ageing process and stop the majority of the population from falling ill in the first place.


  OSTEOPOROSIS (brittle bone disease) is known as the "Silent Killer", and those diagnosed with this disease have either failed to attain optimal bone mass during their first three decades, or have suffered from a rate of bone loss that has exceeded that of bone build-up thereafter. Both sexes will be affected, but as many as 50 per cent of women will suffer from osteoporosis at some point in their lifetime. Most people recognise the almost inevitable loss of height that occurs with increasing age, and indications are that after age 40-50, bone loss is 20-30 per cent of the total bone mass in men—and as much as 40-50 per cent in women.

  The bones of the hands, hips and vertebrae show greater loss than those of the skull and legs, but no bone is totally spared. The accentuation of bone loss produces osteoporosis, and with it come severe pain, fractures and postural distortions. A large number of other medical conditions may be accompanied by osteoporosis, and some people may be predisposed to osteoporosis by genetics. However, the far most common origin of osteoporosis is the excess bone loss that has no distinct medical origin, but which is related to various features of modern lifestyles.

  The best known nutrient for Osteoporosis is Calcium, and the latest research shows that for bone building, calcium should be taken with the mineral magnesium. A report in The Lancet (1998,351;9098:269) shows that women can help to protect their bones by taking a calcium supplement. An earlier report published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1991,54:261S-5S) states "from what is known about calcium requirements in childhood and adolescence, an intake in males of 1000mg daily, and 850mg daily in females would not be sufficient to satisfy their needs, particularly during adolescence. In children consuming lower amounts, it is unlikely that optimal bone mass is achieved, leading to high risk of osteoporosis in later life".

  The importance of calcium in extending the quality of life should not be underestimated. Results from studies show that taking calcium supplements alone reduces bone loss in postmenopausal women by as much as 40 per cent—typical supplementary intakes of calcium are 1200-1500mg daily, almost double the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA). RDAs were introduced almost 60 years ago, as the minimum amount of a nutrient required by the body to protect against nutritional deficiency diseases. Many people believe that the RDA represents the safe level at which a nutrient can be consumed, but this is not the case. Safety levels for all nutrients vary, and can be more than a hundred times the RDA.

  CANCER is the most feared of all illnesses, though it is not the primary cause of death. One in three people in Britain will have cancer diagnosed at some time during their life (more than 40,000 every year), and one in four of those diagnosed will die from cancer. In women, breast cancer is the most common cancer, although the gap between women with breast cancer and women with lung cancer is closing—due to the increased levels of smoking among women, particularly younger women. Lung cancer is the most common cancer affecting men. Scientific studies have shown that a nutrient rich diet can prevent up to 80 per cent of colon, breast and prostate cancers—colon cancer being the most preventable.

  The National Academy of Sciences (US) estimates that 60 per cent of women's cancers and 40 per cent of men's cancers are related to nutritional factors. The cancers most closely associated with nutritional factors are breast and endometrial cancer in women, prostate and gastrointestinal cancers in men. The value of a low fat, high fibre, high complex carbohydrate diet in cancer prevention is well documented, as is the fact that alcohol abuse and smoking increases the cancer risk. It is common knowledge that large pockets of the population do not eat a nutrient rich diet, and even if they did, the amounts of nutrients, particularly antioxidants, needed to help prevent age related illnesses could not be obtained from diet alone. Supplementation would be required, on a long-term basis, using higher range doses.

  For several nutrients, the lower their intake; the greater the risk of developing certain cancers. (Melvyn R. Werbach, MD, The Nutritional Influences on Illness (1996; 124)).

  Oxidation within the body is a leading culprit in the two diseases we are most likely to die from, cancer and heart disease. Substances known as antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and others, help to prevent this cellular breakdown.

  Vitamin C is a critical supporter of the immune system and is essential to repair connective tissue. Vitamin C is also crucial to the body's stress responses, and its antioxidant activity probably explains its effects in preventing both heart disease and some cancers. A general review article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1991,54:1310S-14S) states that "approximately 90 epidemiologic(al) studies have examined the role of vitamin C rich foods in cancer prevention, and the vast majority have found statistically significant protective effects. Evidence is strong for cancers of the oesophagus, oral cavity, stomach and pancreas. There is also substantial evidence of a protective effect in cancers of the cervix, rectum and breast. Even in lung cancer . . . there is recent evidence of a role for vitamin C".

  Although Vitamin E is best known in its protective role against heart disease, it also helps protect against some cancers. An observational study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1991,53:283S-6S) reports that "pre-diagnostic blood serum samples from 766 cases of cancer, and 1,419 matched controls were analysed. Individuals with a low level of vitamin E had a 1½-fold risk of cancer, compared to those with a higher level. The strength of the association between the blood serum vitamin E level and the cancer risk varied for different sites, and was strongest for some gastrointestinal cancers and for the combined group of cancers unrelated to smoking. The association was strongest among non-smoking men and among women with low levels of blood serum selenium".

  Studies of Beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body, have also shown an association with a reduction in heart disease as well as an improvement in memory and cognitive function.

  Beta-carotene has also been shown to be protective against some cancers. A review article published in The Journal of Nutrition (1989,119:116-22) reported that "low intakes of carotene and carotene-rich fruits and vegetables are consistently associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in both prospective and retrospective studies, and low levels of serum or plasma beta-carotene are consistently associated with the subsequent development of lung cancer. However, the importance of other carotenoids, other constituents of fruits and vegetables, and other nutrients whose levels in the blood are partially correlated with those of beta-carotene has not been adequately explored. Also, smoking is associated with reduced intake of carotenoids and lowered blood beta-carotene levels, and has not always been adequately controlled. While prospective and retrospective studies suggest that carotenoids may reduce the risk of certain other cancers, too few studies have looked at these sites to examine the consistency of the evidence".

  HEART DISEASE is no longer strictly a man's worry; it is now the leading cause of death in Britain for both men and women. High blood pressure (hypertension), high levels of cholesterol and elevated homocysteine levels all contribute.

  Hypertension is an insidious condition that can have a detrimental effect on the heart, kidneys, brain and other major organs, yet it causes almost no symptoms until it's too late. It is estimated that 50 per cent of people whose hypertension is left untreated die of coronary artery disease and heart failure. Better education would enable most people to control and manage hypertension easily without the use of drugs. Along with lifestyle changes, perhaps the adoption of a meat free diet, dietary supplements, particularly Omega-3 Fatty Acids (fish oils) and specific minerals show significant promise in reducing high blood pressure.

  Calcium has been shown in studies to not only lower blood pressure, but also to help prevent high blood pressure. Some scientists have stated that calcium counteracts the effects that sodium has on blood pressure. Magnesium is another valuable mineral for controlling hypertension; it works by relaxing and smoothing the muscle of blood vessels. But perhaps the most effective mineral is Potassium, which is why the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is so important as many of them contain high levels of potassium. An observational study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1983,37:775-762) reports that 98 vegetarians were compared to a matched group of non-vegetarians. The average BP was 126/77 for the vegetarians and 147/88 for the control group, a significant difference. Only 2 per cent of the vegetarians had hypertension (BP above 160/95) compared to 26 per cent of the non-vegetarians. Both groups had a similar sodium intake and excreted similar amounts of sodium, while potassium intake and excretion was significantly higher in the vegetarians; thus it appears that the high potassium intake of vegetarians could account for the diet's anti-hypertensive effect.

  High cholesterol is the risk factor most people connect to coronary heart disease. Diets low in saturated fats, and rich in fruit and vegetables, along with regular exercise, can reduce cholesterol levels. Many women have become fat-phobic, but healthy fat is not the enemy. Special low-fat diets for lowering cholesterol are recommended by the orthodox medical professionals, but they are often difficult to follow, and very few people adhere to them consistently—which means they are generally unsuccessful. Some prescription drugs can also lower cholesterol, but their side effects can include heart failure, blurred vision, muscle aches, fatigue and impotence.

  This is an area where accurate information about specific higher range supplements would be of great benefit. Scientific studies carried out over many years have shown that vitamin C, vitamin E, chromium, niacin (B3) and carotenoids (lycopene and beta-carotene) have the ability not just to lower cholesterol levels, but also to inhibit the body's production of "bad" cholesterol. In the 1950's, Abraham Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. (US) discovered that the niacin form of vitamin B3 could reduce cholesterol levels. This essential vitamin was then approved in America by the FDA as a cholesterol lowering drug. Effective doses range from 1500-3000mg daily—more than a hundred times the RDA of 18mg. An experimental placebo-controlled study published in Arch International Medicine (1997,151:1424-32) supports high dose niacin supplementation. In this randomised study, patients with elevated LDL cholesterol levels consumed either 2000, 1500, 1250 or 1000mg daily of niacin in a wax-matrix sustained release form, and were compared to placebo and diet treated groups. Patients who consumed niacin in doses of 1500mg daily, or more, showed significant reductions in LDL cholesterol. Total cholesterol dropped 18.4 per cent and 13.3 per cent, and the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol dropped 20.4 per cent and 19.4 per cent in the 2000mg and 1500mg groups respectively. Improvements were also noted in HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Several liver enzymes, including AST, lactate dehydrogenase and alkaline phosphatase, increased as LDL cholesterol decreased, but only in the patients receiving niacin, suggesting that the liver may be the site of niacin's effects on lipids. Side effects were minimal, with a drop-out rate of only 3.4 per cent.

  Homocysteine is a toxic amino acid, but there is very little awareness of it by most people. It is another substance in the blood that, like cholesterol, is related to the risk of heart disease and responds to good nutrition and appropriate dietary supplements. We now know that keeping homocysteine levels low is as important to heart health as maintaining the right cholesterol levels. It was in 1969 that Kilmer McCully, MD (US), then a professor at Harvard Medical School, suggested that the accumulation of homocysteine may start the process of atherosclerosis, a series of abnormal changes in the walls of blood vessels that gradually blocks the flow of blood. Since then, substantial evidence from both animal and human studies confirm the dangers of this toxic substance.

  It is normal for us to produce homocysteine, but it usually gets broken down quickly so that the levels don't get high enough to do any real harm. However, many people accumulate homocysteine because their bodies are unable to destroy the amino acid rapidly. Homocysteine overload, far from being rare, is found in 20-40 per cent of the victims of coronary heart disease. Fortunately, mildly elevated homocysteine levels can be brought back to normal in most cases by supplementation. Of central importance are some of the B-complex vitamins, particularly folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. According to an experimental study published in Atherosclerosis (1990,81(1):51-60) "20 patients below age 55 with blocked arterial disease of cerebral, carotid, or aorta-iliac vessels found to have impaired homocysteine metabolism were treated with pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6) 240 mg daily (120 times the RDA of 2 mg) and folic acid 10mg daily (50 times the RDA of 200mcg). After four weeks, fasting homocysteine was reduced by a mean 53 per cent and the increase in plasma homocysteine after methionine loading was reduced by a mean 39 per cent, suggesting that the impaired metabolism can be improved easily and without side effects". Vitamin B12 works with folic acid in converting homocysteine to methionine. Mild vitamin B12 deficiency can be the result of a poor vegetarian or vegan diet, but can also be the result of impaired absorption of the vitamin in older people. Vitamin B12 deficiency, even without deficiency symptoms, is frequently associated with raised homocysteine levels, that return to normal with B12 supplementation.

  Arthritis takes many forms, but by far the most common is osteoarthritis—a disease that mostly (but not exclusively) afflicts the elderly. Many individuals who suffer from this form of arthritis complain of pain and stiffness of the neck, back, knees, elbows and fingers. While most people assume that arthritis is a natural consequence of advancing age, age is just one contributing factor. A lifetime of wear and tear takes its toll on vulnerable parts of the body where bone meets bone, but arthritis does not occur without an abnormal chemical environment in the joints. Doctors treat inflammatory arthritis with a class of drugs known as non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs). Although NSAIDs are reasonably effective in relieving joint pain, they do nothing to stimulate the healing pathways, and can produce side effects such as ulcers, stomach upset, dizziness and headaches—leading to further illness. The strongest, most effective, natural anti-inflammatory agent is fish oil, which exerts the same enzyme blocking effects as NSAIDs. Foods from the sea, rich in certain fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been shown to be extremely beneficial for anyone suffering from inflammatory types of arthritis. Eating these fats 3-5 times a week, or taking a higher dose fish oil supplement is likely to reduce the body's overall inflammation levels, thin the blood and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, as well as arthritis.


  In future, the way to prevent age related diseases might be to prevent damage to DNA. Genes have become the much sought after keys to understanding why people inevitably grow old and develop diseases. Although the increasing pace of genetic research presents us with one discovery after another—the so-called cancer gene, the Alzheimer's gene, the obesity gene and countless others—it seems that in their haste to apply this knowledge in gene therapy, many researchers overlook simpler and more practical ways to keep genes healthy and lower the risk of disease. Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients play an integral role in how body cells synthesise and repair genes. Research clearly shows that vitamin supplements can enhance the performance of genes and protect them from damage.

  Genes, built from microscopic double strands of DNA direct the behaviour of the body's 60 trillion cells. They define the body's physical features, such as the colour of our eyes and hair, but they also determine how efficiently the body works on the inside. When the genes work well, they enable the body to live to a good age with a low risk of disease. When genes don't work well, they can accelerate the body's ageing process and increase the risk for cancer and other life threatening diseases. The remarkable activity of genes depends on the nutrients provided. The DNA in the protein we eat is broken down and reconstructed into the individual's own distinctive DNA. Vitamins B3 and B6 are needed for thymine synthesis, folic acid for guanine and adenine, and vitamin B3 for cytosine. When these nutrients are lacking in the body, DNA cannot be synthesised—and its instructions cannot be carried out. "Diet and genetics interact in numerous ways to influence chronic disease risk", Gregory D Miller, PhD, and Susan M Groziak, PhD, wrote in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (1997,16:293-295) "Genetics influence the absorption, excretion and metabolism of all nutrients. Genetics also influence the human body's physiological response to diet. Diet, in turn, may influence the expression (activation) of genes that are related to specific chronic diseases".

  DNA is easily mutated or damaged and as DNA accumulates damage, the likelihood of developing age related illnesses increases. Research has shown that breaks in single strand DNA can usually be repaired. However, folic acid deficiency substantially increases the risk of double strand breaks which are not easily repaired and may result in permanent damage to DNA.


  "Nutritional status surveys of the elderly have shown a low-to-moderate prevalence of straightforward nutrient deficiencies, but a marked increase in the role of malnutrition and the evidence of sub-clinical deficiencies. Recognising the changes in nutrient requirements with age, and the selection of healthy, nutrient-dense foods by older adults can contribute significantly to their adding more life to their years". (Dr Jeffrey Blumberg, Human Nutrition Research Centre on Ageing, 1998).

  A new approach to nutrition is needed and there is an urgent requirement for a review of RDAs. RDAs were developed by the Americans in 1941 to protect soldiers from nutritional deficiencies. Since then, there has been an explosion of knowledge about nutrients and a review is long overdue. In recent years, researchers have begun to discover distinct and substantial differences of the elderly's nutritional needs. Their physiological status and overall health tend to differ from younger adults. It is unfortunate that in dietary guidelines, these two groups have been banded together in one broad classification, as if their dietary requirements are the same—which they are not. Recent scientific studies indicate that, to meet the needs of the elderly, the current RDAs may be too low for many nutrients, and too high for a few. The RDAs should be used not only to prevent nutritional deficiencies, but also to reduce major chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis in the elderly. Reduced energy needs in ageing result from the decline in functioning of the metabolic rate, and the curtailment of physical activity. At the same time, there is an increased need for some essential nutrients, so the diet of the elderly needs to be nutrient dense. There is a wealth of scientific data confirming that higher range doses of vitamins and minerals are necessary to achieve optimum health.

  The nutritional requirements of the elderly should not be based on the false assumptions of the past. This group deserves detailed research into its actual needs, and it is likely that nutritional needs may differ between the elderly and very elderly. It is clear that nutritional intervention could lead to a reduction in illness and suffering—this is what preventive medicine is all about.

  Malnutrition in the elderly can result from a number of different causes. Simple problems such as gum disease or poorly fitting dentures can reduce the total food intake, with inadequate intake of nutrient dense and fibrous foods. Multiple health problems are common with ageing, and many elderly are using numerous prescribed medications. As the number of prescribed medications increase, the risks increase for drug/nutrient interaction that interfere with nutrient absorption. Prescribed diuretics can cause urinary losses for the essential minerals potassium, magnesium, zinc and copper. Some drugs reduce intestinal absorption, and drugs such as aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) prevent vitamin C absorption.

  Lifestyle factors, such as lack of transport may hinder food shopping, and low income may limit the purchase of nutrient rich foods. Those who live alone or are isolated may lack the incentive to either plan or prepare nutritious meals, and preparation may be difficult due to disabilities such as arthritis or poor vision. Impaired mental ability, confusion and depression are all-important risk factors for malnutrition—and not just for those living in their own homes.

  Multiple nutrient deficiencies and protein-calorie malnutrition are prevalent among the elderly in retirement homes and in other long term care facilities.

  Lack of funding and other financial constraints should not be deciding factors in extending quality life. What is needed as a matter of urgency is a nation-wide screening programme to identify nutritional deficiencies in the elderly. Those entering hospital should be screened within 24 hours of admission to help identify those who are malnourished, so that food intake can be monitored and assistance given to help them select and eat food. Those in residential retirement homes and other care facilities should be routinely checked every few years, with dietary counselling and supplement advice given. It should become the responsibility of those in charge of the elderly in care to ensure that they receive adequate nutrients to maintain good health and wellbeing. Elderly people living in their own homes could be routinely screened at their GP's surgery, with the same supplement advice and dietary counselling given. This should be the responsibility of Government, not regional Health Services. Everyone is entitled to have a long and healthy life, free from pain and sickness—good nutrition could safeguard that.


  The costs of ensuring that the elderly population consume diets that are nutrient rich would be minuscule compared to the costs of orthodox medical care. Providing nutritional supplementation to the most vulnerable would also be demonstrably cost effective. The savings to the NHS for cancer and heart disease treatment alone would be around £5 billion per year. (Governments own figures DoH, Our Healthier Nation, 1998). What is required is greater Government funded research into the nutritional influences on illness, and a willingness to act on its findings.

  Nutritional science has developed substantially world-wide in the past 30 years, and so have the clinical applications for nutrients. In fact, nutrients in very large doses are provided as pharmacological agents for some illnesses. Unfortunately, early work in this area has drawn strong criticism due to the premature advocacy of certain nutritional treatments allied to the lack of adequate scientific validation. There are still gaps in our knowledge, but in the last ten years, scientific justification for a wider definition of clinical nutrition has been considerably strengthened, and laboratory tests can now provide evidence of inadequate nutrition, despite the lack of clinical findings of classical nutritional deficiency signs and symptoms. It is now well established that nutritional factors are of major importance in the development of both heart disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death in the Western world, and scientific studies validating their importance in the development of many other diseases continue to be published.


  At present, in the United Kingdom, vitamin and mineral supplements are sold under food law. They may be sold at high potency provided that they pose no threat to consumer safety and that no inappropriate medical claims are made about them. CHC very much supports this position, although we would like to see more information provided to consumers. However, in many other European countries, such supplements are only available at much lower potencies up to limits defined by the outdated concepts of "nutritional need" (RDA's) which are based on an estimate of the minimum amounts of nutrients needs to avoid deficiency disease like beriberi and scurvy—thus completely ignoring the potential benefits of higher potency supplementation.

  The European Union is currently preparing a Draft Directive on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. The Directive has been awaited for a number of years, and it is expected to be published in the very near future. The Directive will seek to harmonise the law in EU Member States in respect of the sale of vitamin and mineral supplements.

  Many countries across Europe currently only allow the free sale of such supplements in potencies related to the RDAs (see above), or lower multiples thereof. If such an approach was accepted as the basis for the legislation, then this could lead to a situation in which many safe, higher potency supplements were banned both in the UK and across Europe. In reality, consumers who have been enjoying the benefits of higher range supplements for a number of years would not stop buying them—they would find an alternative source of supply. Mail order and Internet purchasing of such products would increase, and safety could be undermined.

  The United Kingdom continues to argue in Europe that legislation should be harmonised in such a way that it allows for both the continued sale in the UK of safe, higher potency supplements, and also extends to the rest of Europe the opportunity for consumers to have access to such safe supplements of their choice. We are most anxious that the UK Government should maintain this position in the discussions which now lie ahead, and so avoid the threat that harmonisation of legislation could lead to a ban in the UK on the sale of safe and popular higher potency supplements. The pharmaceutical lobby in both France and Germany is very strong, and they seem determined to secure legislation based on one or three times the RDA.

  We greatly appreciate this policy position on behalf of the Government and hope that your Committee will feel able to endorse it, whilst positively encouraging further research into the effects of dietary supplementation in improving and extending quality of life.

January 2000

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