Nutritionists Support New FDA Vitamin Regulations

Back Tightened Rules on Vitamins A and D

Two nutritionists at Harvard's School of Public Health yesterday supported recently announced Food and Drug Administration regulations governing the sale of vitamins.

Under the new regulations, all products containing vitamins will be classified as food, dietary supplements, or drugs according to the percentage of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins they contain. Vitamins A and D in "drug" dosages will be available only by prescription.

Frederick J. Stare, professor of Nutrition at the School of Public Health, said yesterday that the consumption of large doses of Vitamins A and D entails a "certain hazard." Ninety-five per cent of the population does not require vitamins in addition to a normal diet, he said.

"Variety is the sound principle of diet," said Stare. A sufficiently varied diet contains "all the vitamins you need," he said.

Stare added that he knows of no one among the approximately 150 people working in nutrition at the School of Public Health who takes vitamin supplements.

The FDA action is "entirely justified." David Hegsted, professor of Nutrition, said yesterday. He added that the ruling will have no effect on people taking moderate doses of vitamins. Hegsted said that a "fair share" of those using vitamin supplements are wasting their money.

Hegsted commented that there may be some basis for the use of iron supplements. He said that there is evidence of "substantial" iron deficiency in the general population, especially among male and female adolescents.

Large doses of Vitamin C "may cut down on the severity of colds," he said. Only "one good study" has demonstrated barely significant improvement in the severity and duration of colds, Hegsted said. There is no evidence that Vitamin C prevents colds, he added.

Nutritionists are concerned that the people taking vitamins aren't the ones who need them, said Hegsted. Five percent of the population suffers from malnutrition, Hegsted added