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Inaccurate meta-analyses cause dietary supplement industry to take a hit

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Calcium causes heart attacks! Vitamin E kills! Vitamin D makes your eyeballs explode! OK, the last headline was just made up, but these are the kind of B-movie headlines many of these inaccurate meta-analyses generate, especially across the dietary supplement industry.

(THE NEWS: Council for Responsible Nutrition, Natural Products Association respond to British Medical Journal meta-analysis. For the full story, click here.)

That means these stories should be of little importance. The problem is, the lay press and general public don’t know that. A few years back when one of these meta-analyses suggested people who supplement with vitamin E have a greater chance of dying, the category took a 30% hit. And when that particular meta-analysis was faulted by fellow researchers as having bigger holes than a doughnut, the story already had dropped to page eight in the lay press. By then, the damage already had been done. The general public never really caught wind of the fact that it was safe, even healthy, to supplement their diets with vitamin E again.

What IS important is the fact that both the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association started reaching out to the press the same day this story hit the wires, and consequently before those B-movie headlines would have been created. Sales of all vitamins totaled $6.5 billion for the 52 weeks ended March 19 across all channels, including Walmart, according to the Nielsen Group, and are growing at a rate of 3.6%. The allocation to supplements like calcium and vitamin D products run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

And CRN and NPA were on hand to help set the record straight before these popular supplements were unjustly maligned.

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