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During her presentation before the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, Low Dog educated staffers on the important role of dietary supplements for the support of immune health as a form of proactive health maintenance.
Tieraona Low Dog, MD recently addressed congressional staffers during the final Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus (DSC) briefing of 2020. The educational event was sponsored by the bipartisan, bicameral DSC with assistance from the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA, Silver Spring, MD), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA; Washington, D.C.), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, D.C.), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA; Salt Lake City, UT).
During her presentation, Low Dog educated staffers on the important role of dietary supplements for the support of immune health as a form of proactive health maintenance. One of the major concerns she addressed were nutrient deficiencies that increase the risk of infection and death, and discussed how micronutrients such as vitamins A, C, & D, and zinc can help reduce the risk of acute infection and/or enhance the body’s response to vaccinations, and, when supplemented in an individual’s diet, potentially shorten the duration and severity of disease.
“There is so much we can do to maintain health,” said Low Dog. “With evidence pointing to a correlation between poor nutrition and poor immune response to pathogens that make us sick, it is very reasonable to screen for nutrient deficiencies and consider taking supplements such as a multivitamin and vitamin D.”
Unfortunately, the potential impact of dietary supplements is often downplayed. While people are encouraged to get the necessary nutrients from their diets, the reality is that most people’s diets are not nutrient rich, and improving one’s diet is not often practical financially. “Buy a box of donuts, and four apples, then see which is cheaper,” challenged Low Dog. Dietary supplements can offer vulnerable Americans a reliable, cost-efficient strategy for addressing vitamin deficiencies that predispose them to disease. Unfortunately, public assistance programs such as SNAP don’t cover dietary supplements, and insurance policies often don’t cover testing for vitamin deficiencies.
“Policies should focus on increasing access to minimally processed nutrient dense foods, and our reimbursement system should cover testing for micronutrient deficiencies that can be particularly important for our most vulnerable populations,” said Low Dog.