CRN Criticizes Overgeneralization of New Study in Annals of Internal Medicine

Washington, D.C., December 18, 2017In response to a new study, “Over-the-Counter Supplement Interventions to Prevent Cognitive Decline, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Clinical Alzheimer-Type Dementia,” published online today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, issued the following statement:

Statement by Duffy MacKay, N.D., senior vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN:

“It is disappointing that the authors make a sweeping conclusion about the entire category of dietary supplements based on a review of studies that use significantly different ingredients and a highly varying set of outcome measures. Long-term cognitive health is impacted by a combination of diet, lifestyle, genetics, and environment. Although there is promising research that demonstrates certain dietary supplements can help to support brain function, the science pertaining to the prevention of cognitive decline is still emerging.

The science of nutrition and long-term cognitive health is also complex, requiring novel research designs. When studying botanicals, such as ginkgo biloba, the composition of extract, dose, timing, and severity of cognitive impairment are important considerations. Similarly, when studying nutrients, such as vitamin D, B-vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, they require an evaluation of nutrient status as an important determinant of who may benefit. For instance, research has demonstrated vitamin D is more likely to slow the rates of cognitive decline in vitamin D-deficient and vitamin D-insufficient individuals than those with adequate vitamin D status1.

We strongly encourage further research into the impact of a variety of solutions for cognitive health, including nutrients, bioactives, and botanicals. We also encourage consumers to discuss cognitive health with their doctors or other healthcare practitioners. It is important to remember that dietary supplements cannot cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any disease. Products that mislead consumers into thinking otherwise are illegal and should be avoided at all costs."

Note to Editor: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit Follow us on Twitter @CRN_Supplements and LinkedIn.

1JAMA Neurol. 2015 Nov;72(11):1295-303.