Recently Viewed

Natural supplements proven to be safer than prescriptions drugs

Wednesday, 22 March 2017  |  David Watkins

“Supersafe” Food Supplements
The data collected by ANH-Intl demonstrates that food supplements are the safest substances regularly consumed by UK citizens. This goes against the increasingly restrictive European legislation aimed at “protecting consumers”, with the study placing dietary food supplements in the 'supersafe' category of individual risk - with a less than one in ten million risk of serious harm. To put this into perspective, the risk of being struck by lightning is only half as high at about five million to one - so the potential risk of harm from natural food supplements would be akin to being struck by lightning twice!!

Potentially Lethal Prescription Drugs
By contrast, taking some prescription drugs exposes a person to the same personal dangers as being deployed on active military service, which is currently calculated at around 300,000 times greater than the risk from taking natural dietary supplement products.

Dietary Food Supplements Very Low Risk
ANH-Intl executive and scientific director, Dr. Robert Verkerk, PhD, hailed the figures as shedding new light on the question of the safety of natural health products. He is quoted as saying, "These figures tell us what the relative risks of various activities are to society as a whole. It puts some real perspective on the actual risk of harm posed by food supplements at a time when governments are clamping down because they tell us they're dangerous."

Unnecessary Regulation
According to Dr. Verkerk, the new figures should put real pressure on UK and European authorities to reduce regulatory burdens on natural health products. "Governments justify the increasingly elaborate and restrictive new laws affecting natural health products on grounds of public safety. They argue that reducing consumer access to food supplements, 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.”

Ulterior Motives?
There are numerous responsible small businesses in the UK selling natural dietary supplements and further restrictions would threaten the future of many of them. It is open to question whether there are powerful organisations with ulterior profit motives that are lobbying to push through this negative EU legislation to squeeze out these smaller companies. Against such power is also debatable what could currently be done to stop them and allow consumers freedom of choice to continue to take natural supplements. Now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, the UK natural supplement industry will be keenly following exit developments to see which way the UK government is inclined towards all the current overblown and unnecessary EU regulations. In the recent past and before the Brexit vote, there have been a number of prominent MPs who have questioned the need for such regulations and it will be of great interest to see how those views translate into future UK government policy once it is free of the burden of EU over regulation.

Acknowledgement to Tony Isaacs

About The Author

David Watkins is a long-serving senior member of the management of Tonvara Natural Supplements, a family owned company based in the heart of the Sussex countryside in the UK.

Article updated January 2017 to reflect views on Brexit.