Bayer (Pittsburgh, PA) has made unsubstantiated and illegal claims that its One A Day multivitamins can prevent various diseases, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). On May 3, the nonprofit group notified Bayer that it will be sued for violations of state consumer protection laws unless the company drops the claims that the supplements “support” breast, heart, eye and joint health, as well as physical energy, immunity, healthy blood pressure, bone strength and metabolism. Such a notification is required in advance of a lawsuit in several of the states in which the suit might be filed.
“Every three minutes a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer, and according to the American Cancer Society, the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer at some point during her life is about one in eight,” warns a One A Day website. The web page offers tips for avoiding the deadly disease, such as conducting self-examinations, getting annual mammograms and eating a healthy diet. All good advice, but the controversy surrounds Bayer’s final tip: “Take One A Day Women’s multivitamins formulated with a high level of vitamin D to support breast health.” The evidence that vitamin D plays a role in preventing breast cancer is inconclusive, according to studies cited by CSPI, but supplement manufacturers are prohibited from making disease-prevention claims altogether.
“Bayer is literally putting One A Day multivitamins on a par with mammograms,” said CSPI Litigation Director Steve Gardner. “Bayer is saying: ‘Take these pills and you'll reduce your risk of breast cancer.’ And elsewhere, when the company says it ‘supports breast health,’ it knows full well that cancer is far and away the top breast health issue for women.”
Labels and marketing copy for several One A Day multivitamins also claim that the product is formulated to “support heart health” or “support healthy blood pressure,” basing such claims on the presence of vitamins B, C and E. But in the same way consumers interpret “supports breast health” as “prevents breast cancer,” consumers interpret these claims to mean that the pills prevent heart disease or lower blood pressure, according to CSPI, and there is inconclusive evidence that those particular nutrients do either.
“By positioning One A Day as preventive for breast cancer, heart disease and other conditions, Bayer is thumbing its nose at the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and a dozen or so state attorneys general—continuing a decade-long spree of irresponsible and sometimes felonious behavior,” Gardner said. “There’s nothing wrong with selling—or taking—a daily multivitamin. But you can’t sell [it on the promise of] something you can’t deliver.”
For more information, visit www.cspinet.org.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently dropped deer antler velvet from its list of banned substances after admitting the supplement, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 2,000 years, had most likely been wrongly accused. In the past, deer antler velvet appeared in the news any time a pro athlete used it to recover faster from injury or increase muscle strength. The supplement has been linked to the speedy recovery of Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis and former world No. 1 golfer, Vijay Singh.
Deer antler velvet contains naturally occurring IGF-I (insulin growth factor) a hormone similar to insulin and affects growth. IGF-I is on the banned list of many professional sports leagues; however, the WADA has ruled the amount of natural occurring IGF-I in deer antler velvet does not warrant banishment. The PGA Tour cleared Singh, who admitted he used deer antler velvet for improvement in his body and in his game, of any wrongdoing.
“All natural red deer antler velvet contains more than 300 active ingredients that work together to boost the body’s performance,”' said Ted Alflen, president of Florida-based TCCD International, which distributes the patented BuckPower deer antler velvet in the U.S. “Unlike pure capsules, watered-down spray is altered from its natural state. The science shows powder is simply more effective in helping the body benefit from deer antler velvet’s synergistic complex of nutrients.”
For more information, visit www.wada-ama.org.
On April 24, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, which would require the labeling of all genetically engineered (GE) foods at the federal level.
“Americans have the right to know about the foods they are purchasing,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at the Center for Food Safety. “A vast majority of consumers have demanded that GE foods be labeled and without mandatory labeling, American families are being left in the dark. The American public deserves the freedom of choice in their foods enjoyed by the 64 other nations that have mandatory labeling of these novel foods.”
The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act is the first federal GE labeling bill to be introduced in the Senate since 2000. The Boxer-DeFazio bill comes on the heels of last month’s passage of an amendment to the Senate budget resolution to require the labeling of GE fish, introduced by Senator Begich (D-AK), who is also an original co-sponsor of this week’s labeling bill.
“Now is the time for FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) to reverse its two-decade -old policy decision against labeling,” said Kimbrell. “FDA has the authority to mandate GE labeling, yet they refuse to act. We applaud Senator Boxer and Congressman DeFazio for taking action to bring FDA’s labeling policy into the 21st century.”
Senator Boxer and Congressman DeFazio were joined in this bipartisan bill by nine Senators and 21 Representatives. The bipartisan labeling bill has also been supported by more than 100 organizations and businesses.
For more information, visit www.centerforfoodsafety.org.
Kyolic® Aged Garlic Extract™, Red Yeast Rice and CoQ10 from Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd. (Mission Viejo, CA) combine three powerful ingredients: organically grown red yeast rice, odorless aged garlic extract from organic raw garlic and CoQ10. These ingredients create a synergistic effect to enhance the body’s natural ability to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and support overall heart health.
For more information, call (800) 421-2998 or visit www.kyolic.com.