Last month, the Food
and Drug Adminstration
issued a warning
designed to help people
and in doing so, gave the media impetus
to write sensationalist headlines
and articles attacking the nutrition
industry’s integrity. Media attacks on
supplements are nothing new, but this
one was different in that it seemed to
target the popular practice of supporting
the brain with nutrition.
It started with an FDA consumer
alert, in which the organization cautioned
that supplements cannot claim
to treat or prevent concussions.
According to the FDA, these supplements
for the brain—often featuring
omega-3 fatty acids and turmeric—
may create a “false sense of recovery”
that could compel people to return to
strenuous activity or sports too soon
after suffering a concussion. The FDA
is correct in warning consumers
against the extremely dangerous practice
of returning to the field too soon
when a concussion occurs.
Where the agency seems to get offtrack,
however, is in its vehement
denial of brain supplements’ ability to
aid brain health in any capacity. Using
language like “false claims” and “no
scientific evidence,” the FDA seems to
be discouraging consumers from
including nutrition in programs
designed to support the brain—nutrition
that, in reality, may be helpful.
Same Old Supplement Attacks
The FDA’s consumer alert on brain
supplements recalls past attacks on
health freedom. The FDA has an unfortunate
history of blaming supplements
for adverse events they did not cause.
In this case, the agency seems to suggest
that if an athlete chooses to defy
doctor’s orders and return to the field
too soon after a concussion, then
somehow supplements are to blame.
The FDA also has a history of discrediting
entire categories of nutrients
because of one brand’s labeling missteps.
In this case, the FDA has issued
a serious, headline-dominating consumer
alert based upon the labels of
two supplement manufacturers out of
thousands who label appropriately.
What if Brain Nutrition Helps?
Just because one manufacturer may
have mislabeled a supplement with
overly aggressive claims doesn’t mean
the nutrients behind that supplement
have no benefit. For example, omega-3
fatty acids like DHA, which are often
deficient in the standard Western diet,
play important roles in the structure of
brain cells. DHA in particular has many
highly regarded benefits for supporting
brain development and healthy
cognitive function throughout life.
The FDA’s cries of “false claims” and
“no scientific evidence” seem to suggest,
however, that nutrition has no
place in post-concussion therapy.
Meanwhile, accumulating scientific
evidence has led some researchers to
suggest that DHA may “act as a
promising recovery aid” in cases of
Omega-3 fatty acids’ potential to
support concussion recovery is now
being investigated in a clinical trial at
University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center—further suggesting
these nutrients may hold significant
brain health benefits.
And therein lies the tragedy of the
FDA: With their extreme reaction to
two brain supplement manufacturers’
questionable labeling practices, this
agency may be discouraging people
from getting the safe, natural nutrition
that just might help their brains
It is important to pay attention to
FDA and media attacks on supplements,
because in reality they may be
attacks on health freedom. It may start
with a single mislabeled supplement
claiming to help with concussions.
However, after dire FDA warnings and
countless sensationalist headlines, it
may end with consumers being denied
access to the safe, natural brain nutrients
they use to support memory,
mood and mental clarity. Visit
www.nha2014.com for more details on
how to join the fight to keep these
health-enhancing nutritional supplements
in our lives!