Pharmaceuticals 62,000 times more lethal than Food Supplements.
A new report from the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl) has found that adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs are 62,000 more likely to kill a UK citizen than adverse reactions to consuming a food supplement.
The report was compiled in response to the recent and ongoing EU legislation (over)regulation of the natural health & food supplements industry (read our guide to the EU Nutrition & Health Claims regulation here). Robert Verkerk PhD, scientific director at ANH-Intl, said about the report, 'It puts some real perspective on the actual risk of death posed by food supplements and herbal remedies at a time when governments are clamping down because they tell us they're dangerous.' Dr Verkerk and his team also go on to compare the risk of death from food supplements to other activites, stating that an individual is around 900 times more likely to die from food poisoning (a risk, which incidentally, could be lessened by supporting one's beneficial gut microbiota!) and nearly 300,000 times more likely to die from a preventable medical injury during a spell in a UK hospital. This latter figure, Verkerk points out, is equal to the threat of death whilst in active military service in Afghanistan or Iraq.
One of the big aspects of the Alliance for Natural Health is a focus on prevention of illness, via a healthy diet, lifestyle, and where appropriate taking food supplements or herbs; as opposed to allopathic medicine's focus on finding a cure for an already established disease.
The Alliance for Natural Health International said that the findings of the report would be directed at politicians; hopefully encouraging them to oppose further unnecessary regulations in the field of health claims and similar regulations set to negatively affect the natural health industry.
One huge issue with the Nutrition & Health Claims regulation is that once it comes into play, manufacturers will not have the right to state what a natural supplement does on the pack.
Dr Verkerk concludes by stating; 'They argue that reducing consumer access to food supplements and herbal remedies, with the consequent negative impacts on small businesses manufacturing, distributing, and selling such products, is in society's interest. But the evidence is simply not there - where are the bodies?'
According to nutraingredients.com, the researach was carried out by Ron Law, and was funded in part by natural health company Neal's Yard Remedies.