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Supplement Perspectives

Nothing is Too Big When It Comes to Your Health Freedom

Our nation's founders declared their independence to break free of the tyranny that denied them the civil liberties that they believed all people should be granted as a birthright. They reaffirmed that faith in independence from governmental tyranny with the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791.

Sadly, those in power now often ignore the First Amendment for thoughts that they dislike or criticism they would rather not hear.

With that in mind, the natural products industry is constantly under siege by certain lawmakers, most notably Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who is in relentless pursuit of taking away our health freedoms. In fact, his latest attack on our industry is a re-introduction of his previously lapsed and ill-fated bill, the "Dietary Supplement Labeling Act" (then S.1310, and now as S.1425). He has repeatedly initiated attempts to shut down the dietary supplement industry through a series of gradually suffocating laws, rules, and regulations that will accomplish nothing except to make supplements cost prohibitive as well as all but eliminate product innovation.

We are always compelled to re-enforce the undeniable fact that dietary supplements are among the safest consumer products in the world. The Centers for Disease Control has reported zero deaths from consumption of dietary supplements during the last 25 years. Furthermore, astonishingly, all but ignored are the hundreds of thousands of deaths that occur annually from FDA-approved drugs, government-licensed hospitals, and government-licensed medical doctors.

And, of course, Durbin fails to realize that FDA is already empowered to enforce laws and regulations related in the industry. Maybe he should take a look at DSHEA, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, and the current Good Manufacturing Practices guidelines?

Durbins bill must be opposed and defeated, just as his previous bill was defeated. So, what is the best course of action? Well, during my almost 20 years in the natural products industry, people who take supplements deeply value the privilege to do so and are very proactive in being heard. Many write their senators demanding opposition to relevant bills. And this has been very successful. (A sample of how to do this is posted at the Alliance for Natural Health website.)

Another effective measure politically dissatisfied consumers can take is to directly target the supporters and co-sponsors of the bills. One way to do this is via social media, where expressing yourself is not a problem. People use Facebook to share personal opinions; Twitter to share the latest news; Google+ to express thoughts in their Hangouts; YouTube for compelling videos; Pinterest for imagery on a certain political topic; Tumblr for blogging, etc.

In fact, according to socialmediatoday.com, increasingly, the various social media platforms are often where youll first see major political news and related activity. Social media provides real-time updates that often outshine major news sources, which are increasingly using social media to provide fast coverage that reaches millions of users. Social media also enable allies and rivals of political movements to interact with each other.

We need to take ownership of our health. Just over a century ago, people were self-sustaining. They were growing their own food, taking care of their own basic medical needs, and were living free of extraneous government control. More importantly, Americans must regain control of their health freedoms. The more ignorant people become in this area, the more power Americans give government, Big Ag, and the medical community. The solution is to utilize online resources and social media to make your voices heard when the need arises.  People must get educated, stay informed, and take responsibility for their health and the health of their loved ones.

If that means taking a stand in Washington, so be it.

TAGS: Regulatory
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