HFMA statement: Express -‘dangerous’ supplements’, October 2021.

Supplement warning based on outdated study, says HFMA

HFMA response to the Daily Express Article (‘Supplements Warning: Six Popular Vitamin Supplements linked to ‘increased’ risk of death’ 7th October 2021)

[London, 8th October 2021] An article published yesterday claimed that:

“The use of multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper were associated with increased risk of total mortality when compared with corresponding nonuse. Use of calcium was inversely related to an absolute risk reduction in death, however”

The HFMA emphasises that this article, which appeared in one national title, and was syndicated across several, small regional titles, was written about a study which was published ten years ago. The information in this article is therefore misleading, and outdated.

Dr Michele Sadler, Scientific Adviser to the HFMA, assures, “The findings are based on association data, which means there are limitations arising from the study design, and limits to what the data can tell us.

“For example, association data doesn’t prove ‘cause and effect’, it doesn’t prove that supplements cause the effect. In the study the effects were small and by the nature of this type of study, confounding cannot be ruled out, the possibility of other causes.

“The population studied is older white women, so the results cannot be generalised to men, younger women, other ethnic groups, or other population groups.”

The study in question cannot and should not be extrapolated.

Data on the safety of supplements from many other studies and trials have been assessed for many years by scientific experts in Europe, America, and the UK to set upper safe levels for supplements. Prior to this, the industry practised self-regulation for upper levels of nutrients in food supplements, in line with the scientific evidence.

In 2003, the UK Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals issued recommendations for upper safe levels in supplements, to which the industry closely adheres. These upper levels are set for intakes that are safe to take each day over the course of a lifetime, and levels in supplements are in line with these levels.

“As an industry, we are proud to hold a strong track record for the safety and efficacy of vitamin and mineral supplements. This is backed up by science and decades of positive consumer experience,” said Graham Keen, Executive Director of the HFMA.

The HFMA is contacting the journalist in order to correct them on the information reported in this article.

Issued on behalf of: HFMA

Issued by: ROAD Communications

Press enquiries: Tessa Dunthorne on 07800 792 379 or HFMA.road@roadcommunications.co.uk

About HFMA

Founded in 1965, the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) represents nearly 150 manufacturers and suppliers of natural health products. As the authoritative voice of the natural products industry, the HFMA supports the interests of its members with legislators and regulators; promotes industry best practice for product quality and safety; and provides responsible information for consumers.

For further information about the HFMA, visit www.hfma.co.uk.


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