Current issue: FDA ruling threatens to reserve folate for drug companies

supplements by Lauren Silverman

In the field of holistic health we believe it is important to stay current on what’s happening in the industry, especially when there are proposed changes that will have a great impact on our rights as both practitioners and consumers. In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of activity. A few highlights include:

  • “Occupy Monsanto Movement” calling for a global call to action via a May 24th march.
  • Vermont GMO Labeling Law signed. (What’s going on in the other 49 states?)
  • Fed Up,” the controversial documentary about ” added sugar in the American diet and how it causes childhood obesity to persist, ” opened yesterday in select theaters nationwide. 

While all of the above are worth mention and further inquiry, there is one pressing issue we think needs to be addressed immediately and that is the proposed FDA folate ban.

Proposed FDA ruling would ban folate from supplement labels.

The FDA just proposed a new rule on the revision of nutrition and supplement labels. The problem lies in two short paragraphs that would ban supplement companies from using the word “folate” on their labels.

These short paragraphs could potentially have huge implications.

Why does folate matter?

Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9. B9 is essential in building and repairing DNA.

We absolutely need this vitamin to live! Deficiency can lead to alzheimer and other brain diseases, and deficiency during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

The synthetic form of vitamin B9 is called folic acid. In this form, the vitamin is not biologically active. For the body to use it, the liver first needs to convert it into folate.

Unfortunately, for an estimated 30-40% of the population, that process is not working properly – their livers cannot make folate out of folic acid. An excess of folic acid in the body can trigger all kinds of health issues, too, including a higher risk of several forms of cancer. The Alliance for Natural health made a short video about this issue that sums it up short and sweet.

Who would benefit from this ruling?

So why is the FDA banning the use of the term folate on supplement labels?

The Alliance for Natural Health speculates that it is a favor to drug companies. One of them, Merck, already holds a patent for a form of folate, and folate has been used not only as a supplement but also in treatment of health conditions. Imagine only one (or a few) drug companies could claim to have folate in their products (even though the new ruling does not ban the inclusion of folate in supplements, producers would not be able to label it as such).

What you can do:

Let’s add our voices as practitioners and consumers to the conversation and speak out against this ruling that could potentially restrict access to – and accurate information about – this essential vitamin.

You can do that on the ANH website here.

(Photo by Lauren Silverman on Flickr.)

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