FDA seeks to regulate vitamins and minerals

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Andrew
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Postby Andrew » Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:12 am UTC

anna wrote:Even though I signed this petition myself, I do not agree with some of the wording and the subjective politicizing.

...but this isn't really a vote. There are two weeks of open comment left on this document. You don't have to say "yes" or "no", and you certainly don't have to agree completely with either FDA or Major Stubblebine (which can't possibly be a real name). You can write up your own concerns and send them to the FDA.

Looking at the guidlelines, it doesn't seem like they're going to change anything much anyway. I agree with yy2bggggs -- I can see how losing access to all those chemicals you listed could be a real blow, but I can't see that this draft guidance document is going to take them away. It seems to do nothing but clarify the existing rule that vitamin pills are classed as "dietary supplements" and regulated as such.

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yy2bggggs
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Postby yy2bggggs » Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:49 pm UTC

Andrew wrote:It seems to do nothing but clarify the existing rule that vitamin pills are classed as "dietary supplements" and regulated as such.

But for clarification, even this is an assumption. Vitamin pills are accessible in products intended to aid in the structure of our body, and as such, are categorized as dietary supplements. But this doesn't mean that vitamin pills are classified as dietary supplements--the classification of dietary pills depends on its intended usage.

Calcium's a good example. I can buy calcium supplements in the store in pill form. Those are legitimately classified as dietary supplements under FDA regulations.

I can then walk over to the refrigerator and purchase orange juice that is calcium fortified. The calcium that was added to the orange juice is still classified as a dietary supplement, but insofar as the orange juice itself is concerned, it's only classified as a general food item.

If I purchase coral calcium sold by Kevin Trudeu, which cures cancer and extends your lifespan to 144 (by the way, please pay no attention to this con artist, or at the very least do some very basic research on him and his claims--I'm using him as an example only), it's regulated as a drug.

The guideline changes nothing as far as I can see. Vitamins and minerals sold as dietary supplements are dietary supplements. Vitamins and minerals sold as snake oil cures are drugs. Vitamins and minerals added to food products for which it makes sense (orange juice has vitamin C which helps absorb calcium), are merely food products. Minerals that are added in order to preserve marketable, consistent texture/color are food additives.

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Andrew
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Postby Andrew » Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:35 pm UTC

yy2bggggs wrote:But for clarification, even this is an assumption. Vitamin pills are accessible in products intended to aid in the structure of our body, and as such, are categorized as dietary supplements. But this doesn't mean that vitamin pills are classified as dietary supplements--the classification of dietary pills depends on its intended usage.

...

The guideline changes nothing as far as I can see. Vitamins and minerals sold as dietary supplements are dietary supplements. Vitamins and minerals sold as snake oil cures are drugs. Vitamins and minerals added to food products for which it makes sense (orange juice has vitamin C which helps absorb calcium), are merely food products. Minerals that are added in order to preserve marketable, consistent texture/color are food additives.


Yes. That seems to be the idea of the guidelines and it also seems to be perfectly sensible to me. If this means people who need said vitamins have to buy them from people who aren't claiming they cure diseases they don't cure, then all the better.

Although I suspect they'll just change the packaging so they can say they're being sold as dietary supplements. I know that whenever Holland And Barrett advertise they're very careful not to claim their products do anything at all. They sort of implicitly tell you what they might be imagined to do, by showing the product skipping or something if it's beleived to help joints, but they'll never make a claim.

They have whole shops full of stuff they won't be conned into saying you should ever buy. It's very strange, and a bit amusing. Their website is great. It says things like "Today nutritionists are taking a closer look at this wonderful herb because it has been used for many years throughout Europe", and "Omega 3,6 and 9 are the 'good' fats needed for many different functions within the body". But they never make a direct claim that a product will have a certain effect.

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Vaniver
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Postby Vaniver » Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:06 pm UTC

I'm not sure that if this guideline is passed, it actually changes anything at all
There are other assumptions you probably are making that you are not stating--for example, that there's no proven effective drug for the condition.
I was responding more to a specific comment than the guideline in question- my points were that there sometimes is a big deal in waiting for the FDA to approve a treatment and that treatments probably do vary in effectiveness from person to person; not that this guideline is necessarily questionable.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

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