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Another Hatchet Job from Consumer Reports

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Their latest issue,"10 Surprising Dangers of Vitamins & Supplements," is just more fear-mongering. Action Alert!

Consumer Reports (CR) claims to be a trustworthy, unbiased source of information. But where nutritional supplements are concerned, they either think that scare-mongering sells, or they have a deep bias, or both. The lead article in their September issue identifies ten supposed "hazards" of supplements-among them that "supplements are not risk-free."

Does Consumer Reports think its readers are clueless? No consumer product is completely risk-free. It is possible to kill yourself by drinking too much water. But there is a great deal of safety data about supplements because so many of us take them. A recent study sponsored by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics found that 165 million Americans, or about 53 percent of the population, take some sort of nutritional supplement on a daily basis, and the safety record is remarkably good.

CR claims that supplements are unsafe-an assumption they base on the supplement Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS). In fact the AERS prove the exact opposite, showing the extremely low number of supplement AERs-especially when compared to AERs from drugs.

Consider an old drug that most people consider innocuous, like aspirin. Did you know that between 2004 and 2012, there were 87,600 adverse events submitted to the FDA for aspirin or products containing aspirin? Everything from gastrointestinal hemorrhages, neurological impairment, respiratory problems, cardiac arrhythmias, and even suicidal behaviors have been reported. The risk of internal bleeding has been particularly well documented.

Aspirin adverse events are just a tiny part of the drug toxicity problem. Between 2000 and 2010, the government received 3,720,946 adverse event reports for drugs and therapeutic biologic products.


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