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Letters: A false choice on medicine and health

July 18, 2013

Re "Alluring but risky medicine," Opinion, July 7

Dr. Paul A. Offit's theory of "conventional" versus "alternative" medicine misses the point that Americans have moved beyond choosing one or the other. Instead, we are integrating all the options available for good health, including the use of vitamins and other dietary supplements.

More than 150 million Americans take dietary supplements every year, and consumer research shows that supplement users are generally higher educated, with higher incomes, and are more likely than those who don't take supplements to also engage in other healthy behaviors, such as trying to eat a healthy diet, exercising routinely and visiting their doctor regularly.

We further disagree with his concerns about supplement safety. The government has ample oversight authority for dietary supplement manufacturing, labeling and marketing claims, as well as mandatory recall. Although supplements do not undergo the pre-market approval process of pharmaceutical products, there are plenty of safety measures in place to protect consumers.

Steve Mister

Washington

The writer is the president and chief executive of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group for the dietary supplement industry.

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