While nutritional supplements have recently been faced with many threats, health care professionals are also encountering obstacles as well. For example, exclusionary regulatory regimes for nutrition counseling in several states make it illegal for many qualified, highly credentialed nutrition practitioners to provide supplement and nutrition advice to their patients. But a new group called the Nutrition Leaders Council has formed to help find more inclusive ways to advance and grow the nutrition profession so health care practitioners are empowered to use nutrition as a primary tool in their practice.
In an effort to help advance nutrition to the core of America’s health care, the Nutrition Leaders Council will partner with a consortium of important nutrition organizations, including the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) and their Certified Nutrition Specialists (CNS); the Center for Nutrition Advocacy (CNA), which advocates for practice and insurance rights for practitioners; and the American Nutrition Association (ANA), which educates professionals and the public.
“It was important for us to first put the infrastructure in place to support a highly respected and recognized nutrition profession,” said Michael Stroka, executive director of BCNS. “The Nutrition Leaders Council is going to help us usher in the second phase of moving nutrition to the core of health care.”
Consumers’ trust in the use of dietary supplements stems in great part from the advice of their health care practitioner, such as a credentialed nutritionist, medical doctor, naturopathic physician, chiropractor, acupuncturist or pharmacist. JAMA indicates that 23 percent of supplement sales are based on health care practitioner recommendations alone, translating to approximately $9 billion in annual supplement sales, based on data from Nutrition Business Journal.
“Nutrition is the single most powerful determinant of a person’s health,” said Stroka. “The leaders who make up the Nutrition Leaders Council have aligned efforts with BCNS and other highly respected nutrition organizations, which will help us ensure that trained health care practitioners have the capability to provide quality nutrition and supplement recommendations to patients for improved health.”
Stroka says that currently in 16 states, many highly credentialed nutrition practitioners, who often have more advanced training than registered dietitians (RDs), are not currently allowed to give nutritional and supplement advice due to state licensing laws that make it illegal. However, in the past five years, BCNS, CNA and ANA have made significant process toward a more inclusive regulatory environment by spearheading opposition to anti-competitive bills, laws, regulations, and promoting more inclusive ones, in order to allow a variety of health care practitioners to legally provide nutrition and supplement advice.
“These exclusionary laws and regulations have a huge cost to the health of Americans,” said Stroka. “Just as practitioners need high-quality sources of nutrition, the industry needs an empowered nutrition profession.”
The Nutrition Leaders Council is comprised of nutrition business and community leaders, including founding members: Carilyn Anderson, president, Carlson Labs; Aaron Bartz, president, Ortho Molecular Products and Aaron Bartz Family; Jeffrey Brams, general counsel and vice president of product development, Garden of Life/Atrium Innovations; Jim Emme, CEO, NOW Foods; Tammi Geiger, director of marketing, Standard Process; Andy Greenawalt, vice chairman, Emerson Ecologics; Dr. Michael Hartman, vice president of scientific affairs, AdvoCare; Konstanze Hickey, vice president, Hickey Family Foundation; Dr. Datis Kharrazian, Kharrazian Family; Mandy Kraynik, vice president and general manager, Integrative Therapeutics; Patrick Sullivan, president, Jigsaw Health; Dr. Sanni Raju, CEO, Natreon; Fran Towey, president and CEO, Natural Partners; Dr. John P. Troup, executive vice president and chief science officer, Metagenics; and Ruth Westreich,