Th Expert Speaks
March 08, 2017
Washington, D.C., March 8, 2017 —Last week at the Dietary Supplement Caucus luncheon briefing, “Nutrient Deficiencies: Bridging the Gap,” Michael McBurney, PhD, FACN, vice president, science, communications and advocacy of DSM Nutritional Products and one of the world’s leading nutrition authorities, addressed a crowd of over 50 congressional staffers and guests on the prevalence of nutrient deficiencies in the United States (U.S.). He also introduced the idea of “hidden hunger,” the tendency of Americans to experience a lack of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, potentially leading to mental impairment, poor health and decreased productivity.
Nutrient shortfalls are common in the U.S., according to Dr. McBurney, who is also an adjunct professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, as roughly one-third of Americans experience at least one nutrient deficiency. In his presentation, he pointed to iodine, vitamin B6 and vitamin D as being the most common nutrient deficiencies, especially among pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, taking dietary supplements, specifically a multivitamin, could help to bridge these nutrient gaps.
“Forty percent of non-supplement users in the U.S. are clinically deficient in one, two or three nutrients,” said Dr. McBurney. “If you look at multivitamin supplement users, they are three times less likely to have nutrient deficiencies. Evidence supporting why it’s important to take a multivitamin supplement doesn’t get much stronger than this. It’s not a quick fix for perfect health, but it does address those hidden hunger concerns.”
Underlining the importance of the multivitamin, Dr. McBurney finished his presentation by pointing to recently introduced legislation, the Health Savings Act of 2017, S.403 in the Senate and H.R.1175 in the House, and how, if passed, it could positively impact the health of Americans. Through this legislation, dietary supplements would be considered deductible medical expenses under Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). “It’s the simplest and easiest way to empower people to take action and do what they need to do for their health,” said Dr. McBurney.The educational event was the first Dietary Supplement Caucus briefing for the 115th Congress, the 29th since the Caucus was first registered in 2006, and was co-hosted by the leading trade associations representing the dietary supplement industry—the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products Association (NPA) and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA).