Government’s Good Intentions Gone Bad


Everyone wants a safe, effective, and accessible supply of the products that keep us healthy. Doctors and patients need proven drugs. People seeking to prevent illness with natural remedies also need good products. But governments trying to ensure quality are putting measures in place that will limit the variety of supplements, make them more expensive, and make it harder for smaller companies with innovative products to compete.

Natural products like vitamin C, fish oil, magnesium, calcium, and many other supplements are ingredients for good health. For the cost of a cup or coffee, daily supplementation can address deficiencies in the diet, add antioxidants, reduce inflammation, support the immune system, build bone, etc.

For example, vitamin C and lysine in high doses help maintain the cardiovascular system and support joint health, teeth, gums, wound healing, and more. The key is collagen. Vitamin C is required to manufacture healthy collagen, the glue that holds cells together, just like mortar is needed for bricks. Lysine, like steel rods in cement, makes collagen stronger. A lack of vitamin C and lysine results in poor collagen and weak arteries.

You can make one of the best investments in your health by taking a high-quality fish oil that has been formulated for better absorption. There’s no point in having fish oil go right through the digestive system missing the benefits to heart health and better brain function.

Women over 50 can benefit from calcium supplementation to reinforce bones at risk of osteoporosis. 

But new measures by government regulators are making it harder for the small businesses that bring a variety of helpful products to market. Why? Because for all the good intentions to ensure safe, effective, and high-quality products, governments are creating the conditions that will wipe many good players out of business. Adhering to new regulations will jack up the costs to produce the products we use for health promotion – natural vitamins, minerals, oils, herbal remedies, probiotics, and so on. It means higher prices for consumers.

One of the most important places in your community for you to do well by your health is your local health food store. There, you can count on finding carefully selected products on the shelves that have your health at heart. The people who work in these stores are often specialists in nutrition, natural supplements, and holistic approaches to health. Our advice is to become a regular customer in a store near you.

But also, don’t be complacent when governments don’t understand how their good intentions are negatively impacting your best interests for healthy living. A consultation is currently underway in Canada offering consumers an opportunity to comment on new regulations Health Canada is imposing. The changes affect labelling and the process for product approval. The question is, why can’t governments find ways to ensure adherence to safety, quality, and valid claims without wiping out good companies and elevating prices further for natural products? Why make it easier for big international companies to put small Canadian companies out of business? Readers in Canada should visit your local health food store to learn more and get in touch with your Member of Parliament before July 26 to express your view.

There are benefits to our global society. But we need to swing the pendulum back closer to the values and conditions that support community-based businesses focused on health promotion. Your local health food store is like a family doctor for the community. They know their customers and they care. Governments should see them as allies and find better ways to support the natural health industry.

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