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CRN applauds USDA’s support of supplements

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'Dietary Guidelines for Americans' recognizes role

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for supporting dietary supplement use in the “2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans” released today.

The Dietary Guidelines recognize supplements help to meet nutrient needs not obtainable from food intake alone and identify groups that may consider dietary supplements. The Guidelines incorporate key recommendations from CRN.

“Underconsumption of key nutrients is a public health concern,” said Haiuyen Nguyen, senior director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at CRN. “We’re pleased to see USDA and HHS recognize certain U.S. population groups do not achieve recommended nutrient levels from dietary intake alone. The Guidelines reflect how dietary supplements can support the health of all Americans.”

The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines underscore that under-consumption of vitamin D, iron, calcium, dietary fiber, and potassium among Americans is linked to health concerns. The Guidelines highlight that recommendations for vitamin D in particular may be more difficult for individuals to achieve through natural sources and diet alone, noting that vitamin D supplementation may be appropriate.

The Guidelines incorporate several of CRN’s recommendations for specific populations. First, CRN recommended vitamin D supplementation for breastfed infants. The Guidelines instruct that all infants who are fed human milk exclusively or partially will need a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU per day beginning soon after birth. They further acknowledge that achieving adequate amounts of vitamin D from foods and beverages alone can be challenging, The Guidelines suggest young children may need to continue taking a vitamin D supplement after age 12 months.

CRN also recommended that pregnant and lactating women be advised to seek guidance from a healthcare provider on appropriate use of dietary supplements to meet nutrient needs not expected to be covered by dietary intake alone, such as needs for vitamin D, folic acid, iron, iodine, and choline. The Guidelines recognize that most healthcare providers recommend women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should take a daily prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement, in addition to consuming a healthy diet, to ensure adequate intakes of key nutrients. Further, the Guidelines recommend pregnant or lactating women who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet to talk to their healthcare provider about supplementation to ensure they get adequate amounts of iron, vitamin B12, choline, zinc, iodine, and EPA/DHA.

In line with CRN’s recommendations, the Guidelines acknowledge that nutrient needs during lactation are different from needs during pregnancy—especially the decreased need for folate/folic acid and iron—and recommend that women seek guidance from a healthcare provider on appropriate use of prenatal or other dietary supplements during lactation.

The Guidelines also state that some older adults may require vitamin B12 supplements, noting concerns with absorption of this vitamin from food. “This was missing from the previous Guidelines, so we’re glad to see it return,” said Ms. Nguyen.

CRN and its Dietary Guidelines for Americans Subcommittee contributed to the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines from the start of the process in 2018. CRN submitted feedback to USDA and HHS regarding the focus of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) scientific review; monitored nominations to the Advisory Committee; participated in all public meetings; and submitted oral and written comments to the DGAC. Further, CRN submitted comments to USDA and HHS in response to DGAC’s final scientific report.


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