New Dietary Guidelines Report Recognizes Role of Dietary Supplements During Pregnancy and Lactation

Washington, D.C., July 22, 2020—The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, welcomes the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) release of the Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which informs the Departments’ development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to be released later this year. Building on the work of previous advisory committees, the recent report further identifies the role dietary supplements can play in supporting the health of Americans. The 2020 Scientific Report recognizes how dietary supplements can support various U.S. population groups that cannot achieve recommended nutrient levels from dietary intake alone.

UPDATE: See CRN written comments submitted to HHS/USDA

“CRN is especially pleased to see the Committee’s recognition of the appropriate use of dietary supplements during pregnancy and lactation life stages,” said Haiuyen Nguyen, senior director, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN. “We appreciate the Report’s acknowledgment that nutrient needs during these life stages are not expected to be met by food alone, especially for essential nutrients like iron, iodine, and folic acid. CRN also agrees with the Committee’s suggestion that choline and magnesium should be further evaluated as levels of inadequacy of both nutrients are high in pregnant and lactating women.”

Dietary supplements can help the U.S. population meet recommended nutrient intake levels and play a key role in supporting healthy diets. The Committee identified vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber, choline, and potassium as under consumed nutrients, meaning that they are “consumed by many individuals in amounts below the Estimated Average Requirement or Adequate Intake levels.” Vitamin D, iron, calcium, dietary fiber, and potassium remain included as nutrients of public health concern in the recent report, as they continue to be consistently under consumed by the U.S. population and under consumption is linked to adverse health outcomes. The Committee lists vitamin D as a nutrient of public health concern for all ages and genders, while iron concerns are targeted to adolescent females and pregnant women. The Committee Report suggests that consumers discuss vitamin D and iron supplementation with a healthcare provider and notes that neither nutrient is easy to obtain from food alone without exceeding caloric needs. 

Over the years, CRN has seen a positive shift in the Advisory Committee from not acknowledging the beneficial role of dietary supplements in overall nutrition, to now recognizing that supplements play a role in meeting nutrition and health needs. “For the first time, the Advisory Committee was asked to evaluate evidence on the relationships between dietary supplements of specific nutrients and health outcomes in pregnancy and lactation and birth to 24 months life stages,” said Ms. Nguyen. “This shift demonstrates great progress and CRN hopes to see future Dietary Guidelines recognize supplements as part of a strategy to meet essential nutrient intake even beyond the nutrients included in the 2020 report.”

CRN has been engaged in the development of the newest Dietary Guidelines from the beginning of the process in 2018. The association appreciated the opportunity to participate by submitting feedback to the USDA and HHS on the list of topics and questions that became the focus of the Advisory Committee’s scientific review; supporting nominations for the Advisory Committee; attending all public meetings; and submitting oral and written comments to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. CRN will remain engaged in this process and continue to represent the dietary supplement and functional food industry in helping to shape future nutrition policies by submitting comments to the USDA and HHS in response to the Committee’s final scientific report in August 2020. 

Note to Editor: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 180+ 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