ADA releases updated position paper on nutrient supplementation

Dec 08, 2009

While supplements can help some people meet their nutrition needs, eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods is the best way for most people to obtain the nutrients they need to be healthy and reduce their risk of chronic disease, according to a newly updated position paper titled "Nutrient Supplementation" from the American Dietetic Association. This paper is an update of ADA's "Fortification and Nutritional Supplements" position paper, published in 2005.

ADA's updated position paper, published in the December issue of the , represents the Association's official stance on nutrient supplementation: It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that the best nutrition-based strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to wisely choose a wide variety of foods. Additional nutrients from supplements can help some people meet their nutrition needs as specified by science-based nutrition standards such as the Dietary Reference Intakes.

ADA's position and accompanying paper were written by registered dietitians Melissa Ventura Marra, a nutrition consultant in Boynton Beach, Fla., and Andrea P. Boyar, associate professor of dietetics, foods and nutrition and chair of the department of health sciences at Lehman College, City University of New York.

According to the authors, supplement sales in the United States in 2007 totaled $23.7 billion, due in large part to "the aging of the population and consumer desire to maintain good health and prevent disease." Sales of supplements such as calcium, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A/beta carotene, magnesium and iron have grown, while vitamin E supplement sales declined slightly.

The increase in sales of supplements may not have been accompanied by an increase in consumers' knowledge about what they are taking, according to the authors, who add that registered dietitians have the knowledge and experience to educate consumers on safe and appropriate selection and use of supplements.

The authors write: "Although many Americans use dietary supplements, a 2009 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office stated that 'according to experts, consumers are not well-informed about the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements and have difficulty interpreting labels on these products.' The Government Accountability Office expressed concern that the uninformed use of dietary supplements may expose consumers to health risks. The expertise of dietetics practitioners is needed to help educate consumers on safe and appropriate selection and use of , including nutrient supplements."

ADA's position paper reaffirms the importance of obtaining nutrients from the consumption of a variety of nutrient-rich foods while acknowledging that nutrient supplements may be needed to help fill dietary gaps for some. The paper discusses the effectiveness of nutrient supplements in helping to fill dietary gaps as well as the potential for nutrient excesses. It also highlights issues to consider when assessing the need for supplementation and provides updates on federal regulations. And ADA's position paper identifies roles and responsibilities of food and nutrition professionals such as registered dietitians in making evidence-based recommendations and provides key resources to keep RDs informed.

Source: American Dietetic Association

Explore further: Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ADA releases updated position paper on vegetarian diets

Jul 01, 2009

The American Dietetic Association has released an updated position paper on vegetarian diets that concludes such diets, if well-planned, are healthful and nutritious for adults, infants, children and adolescents and can help ...

Teens who take multivitamins have healthier lifestyles

Dec 04, 2006

Teenagers who take a daily multivitamin supplement have a healthier diet and lifestyle than those who don't take vitamins, reports a study in the December Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Some vitamin supplements don't protect against lung cancer

May 21, 2007

A study of more than 75,000 adults found that taking supplemental multivitamins, vitamin C and E and folate do not decrease the risk of lung cancer. The findings are being reported at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International ...

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

Apr 16, 2014

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...