Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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April 20, 2004

Codex Alimentarius - Optimizing Nutrient Intakes

During the annual meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Nutrition and Foods For Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) in November 2003, a decision was made to establish an electronic working group to set new nutrient reference values for the labelling of food products.

Work on this is proceeding and indeed, the National Health Federation (NHF) has recently made a well documented proposal for optimized nutrient reference values that would - if adopted - get us closer to the goal of real prevention based on nutrition.

Paul Taylor has transmitted the Federation's proposal arguing that current references such as the RDAs are insufficient to assure optimal health in populations, adding that

it would be a major step forward for global public health if the CCNFSDU were to finally accept and support the growing medical evidence that vitamin and mineral supplements prevent disease, promote optimum health and prolong lifespan.

We can find the excellent proposal of the National Health Federation on their website. Cardiovascular disease and cancer, two of the major causes of death, could be largely prevented if nutritional status of the population was adequate. Hence the importance of the nutrient reference values. Read the introduction here:

I n t r o d u c t i o n

(Original here)

The World Health Organization currently attributes one-third of all global deaths annually (15.3 million) to cardiovascular disease, and in 2000 over 6 million deaths occurred globally from cancer. Moreover, estimates predict that by 2020 the total number of cases of cancer will have increased by 73% in the developing world and by 29% in the developed world. By 2020 it is estimated that chronic diseases will account for almost three-quarters of all deaths worldwide.

Faced with these statistics we are forced to question the wisdom of assuming that populations are healthy merely because they don’t suffer from classical nutritional deficiency diseases such as scurvy, rickets beri-beri or pellagra.

Current estimates of nutritional sufficiency, be they RDAs, AIs, EARs or NRVs, do not set nutritional intakes with the concept of optimum health in mind. They are simply estimates of the amounts of nutrients that healthy populations would require to maintain normal function and health and to avoid nutritional deficiency diseases. This approach, in our opinion, is highly flawed.

Given the increasing prevalence in our societies of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, allergies, arthritis, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and depression, we believe that by definition our current system of nutritional values is no longer applicable.

Moreover, the consistency of evidence in the scientific literature clearly demonstrates that individuals who consume nutritional supplements have a lower risk of contracting serious disease - a position that has now been taken by two of the world's leading medical journals.

The Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, recently reversed its historical anti-vitamin policy by acknowledging that "it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements". The article, authored by Robert H. Fletcher and Kathleen M. Fairfield from the Harvard School of Medicine, examined English-language articles about vitamins in relation to chronic diseases published between 1966 and 2002, and concluded that inadequate intake of several vitamins has been linked to the development of diseases including coronary heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

Similarly, the April 9, 1998 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine featured an article entitled "Eat Right and Take a Multivitamin" that was based on a succession of positive studies showing the disease-prevention benefits resulting from the consumption of nutritional supplements.

We therefore consider that it would be a major step forward for global public health if the CCNFSDU were to finally accept and support the growing medical evidence that vitamin and mineral supplements prevent disease, promote optimum health and prolong lifespan.

Research has shown that there appears to be little-to-no risk to supplement users of experiencing adverse side effects due to excessive intakes of micronutrients.

We therefore propose the NRVs contained in this document as the minimum preventative intakes necessary to prevent disease, promote optimum health and prolong lifespan in the majority of people.

We also strongly believe that it is the duty of the CCNFSDU to make recommendations that advance nutritional welfare, prevent disease, promote optimum health and prolong lifespan and that as such a general recommendation supporting the use of nutritional supplements would admirably fulfill all of these criteria.

Paul Anthony Taylor

NHF Board Member & Codex Delegate

29th March 2004

Details of the recommendations including a list of the published references can be found on the NHF website.

See also related:

Codex Alimentarius – A threat to your vitamin supplements?

Are RDA Nutrient Levels Safe?

Risk Free Vitamins - How Safe is Safe Enough?

EU Commissioner Byrne: No Zero Risk Society

Ascorbic Acid could lower health care cost - Atomic Scientist says

Vitamins E, C effective in high doses - prevent Alzheimers

Nutritional Supplements Modulating Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors and the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Current Nutrition & Food Science, Volume 1, No. 1, 2005 Pp.1-11, Vijaya Juturu and James J. Gormley - Abstract. (Full paper available via James Gormley)


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Tuesday April 20 2004
updated on Tuesday November 30 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

Codex: WHO/FAO Told Nutrient Risk Assessment Must Consider Benefits
In a submission to the FAO/WHO nutrient risk assessment project, Dr. Robert Verkerk, Director of the Alliance for Natural Health charges that assessment of the possible risks of nutrient overdose must also consider the beneficial effects of nutrients. He says that risk assessments undertaken to date "are not based on a sufficiently rational scientific platform" and "will provide misleading information for policy decision-makers". At stake is the continued availability of... [read more]
December 16, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Health and Nutrition
..."even in this new millennium, a survey shows 42 percent of Americans still do not consume enough vitamin C to prevent signs of scurvy (easy skin bruising, bleeding gums, fluid on the lungs, bleeding and swelling at the back of the eyes)... ...The consumption of 300 milligrams of vitamin C per day would reduce the risk of sight-threatening cataracts by 77-83 percent.... ...vitamin C will reduce blood pressure equally as... [read more]
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South Africa breaks ranks at Codex Nutrition Committee
The discussions around a proposed guideline for food supplements by the Committee for Nutrition and special dietary foods of the international standard setting body called Codex Alimentarius, have taken a most interesting turn this year. Population reference intakes (RDAs) were abandoned as a measure for determining upper level dosages of vitamins and minerals in supplements, substituted by scientific risk analysis as the method of choice for assuring protection of... [read more]
November 06, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger

Codex Alimentarius – A threat to your vitamin supplements?
Codex Alimentarius is an international standard-setting body dealing with how to safely process and store food products, avoiding hazards to our health. For about ten years, the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses has been mulling over a guideline for vitamin and mineral supplements, originally proposed by the German delegation to this committee, presumably to eliminate dangers from these additions of vital nutrients to our nutrition.... [read more]
March 22, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Codex Commission Agrees on Supplement Safety Approach
According to a report on, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was meeting in Geneva in the past week has endorsed the decision of the Committee on Nutrition and Special Dietary Foods to set dosage limits for vitamin and mineral products along the lines of scientifically determined safe levels rather than the minimum requirements known as the RDAs. The Committee on Nutrition which meets in Germany decided in November last... [read more]
July 04, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Codex: Labelling Committee Asked to Allow Information on Food Preventive Effects
The Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Labelling in its recent meeting in Montreal, Canada, heard a proposal of the Republic of South Africa, to re-think its rules which prohibit food manufacturers saying or implying that a food may aid in the prevention or cure of a disease. Although various foods clearly do prevent and even cure diseases, any claims for such effects are strictly limited to pharmaceutical products registered as... [read more]
May 25, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger




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