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Scientifically formulated and clinically tested nutritional supplements

December 18, 2004

Dear Senator

I am writing to respectfully urge you and your colleagues to support Bill S.1538, the DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2003 put forth by Senators Harkin and Hatch. Concomitantly, I am requesting that you strongly oppose S. 722 (the Dietary Supplement "Safety" Act introduced by Senator Durbin.

I write to you as a concerned constituent, surgeon, scientist, businessman and a recognized expert in the field of Human Nutrition and Complementary/Integrative (Alternative) Medicine (please see mini-bio below).

I am extremely concerned that S. 722 would subject vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary supplements to a level of scrutiny that is both unwarranted and unnecessary. Bill S. 722 would enact discretionary enforcement powers that would significantly undermine many of the freedoms that American consumers of dietary supplements-like myself-hold dear. Can you even imagine that if you want to consume some extra vitamin C or ginkgo biloba that the government would have the authority to say, no. This is, simply put, too much regulation and too much government.

Bill S.722 would lead to clinical evaluation of generally recognized safe over the counter supplements using overbearing and inappropriate standards at the complete discretion of the FDA. There is no doubt that nutritional supplements that have been used safely and beneficially for years would be subject to undue scrutiny. The DSHEA law as designed by Senators Harkin and Hatch clearly offers a level of consumer protection that is appropriate when enforced and enacted as it was intended to be. Thus, it would be more reasonable to assist the FDA by providing the necessary resources to allow the agency to make full use of its authority as granted by the DSHEA.

It often appears as if the major driver of the restrictive legislation is reaction with no in-depth understanding to the sound bite news items about the potential dangers of vitamins and herbs. It is imperative that you as a voice of the masses realize that there are many positive studies that often go unreported while the negative studies receive the lions share of the press.

In several of my national/international courses on "The Science Behind Dietary Supplementation", "Nutrition and Your Health: Fact or Fantasy" or "Supplement Concerns" (this latter talk was given to the Professional Baseball Association-Trainers), I discuss the following major points:

1. Average Annual Mortality Rates (over the past 12 years)

Deaths/yr      Deaths/yr
Vitamins 1      Alcohol 100,000
Herbs 2      Microbes 90,000
Smoking 400,000      Firearms 36,000
Poor diet 300,000      Automobiles 29,000
Pharm errors 100,000      Drug Abuse 20,000
Suicide 19,000

Thus, it is clear that the likelihood of death secondary to vitamin and herbal use is very low and is at levels much less than would occur by the mere drive to the office each morning.

2. The potential savings from a reduction in the relative risk of coronary artery disease and improved immune function with subsequent reduced infection rate by providing adults with a daily multivitamin is ~ 1.6 billion/year (The Lewin Group Inc Jan 14, 2004)

- Significant number of older adults fail to get amounts and types of food to meet essential energy and nutrient needs (McCormack 1997; Cid-Ruzafa et al 1999; Marshall et al 2001 etc.)
- Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals predicted to affect ~ 1/3 of all older adults (>65 yrs) (Chandra 1997)
- "Pending strong evidence of effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements" (Fletcher and Fairfield JAMA 2002)
- All people should take MVI, antioxidants and other nutritional supplements based upon the most recent body of data (Seidman personal communication since 1981)

In summary- The restrictions being considered for Bill S.722 are based on junk science, It is anti-American to interfere with ones rights to purchase/take what one wants. There are better ways to develop safeguards based on sound science, and I would be pleased to offer my assistance.

Thank you for your serious consideration and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely yours,

Michael D. Seidman, MD.,FACS
Director Division of Otologic/Neurotologic Surgery
Medical Director Center for Integrative Medicine
Henry Ford Health System

Office: 248-661-7211
Pager: 313-714-4150
Lab: 313-876-1016

Michael D. Seidman, MD attained both his B.S. in Human Nutrition and M.D. from the University of Michigan. After a five-year residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) he completed a fellowship in Otologic/Neurotologic and Skull Base Surgery at the Ear Research Foundation in Florida. Dr. Seidman is the Director-Division of Otologic/Neurotologic Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery for HFHS, Director of Otolaryngology Research Laboratory, the Co-Director of the Tinnitus Center, the Chair of the Center for Integrative Medicine for HFHS, and a past President of the Michigan Otolaryngology Society. Additionally, he is an active scientist and has extramural funding from the National Institute of Health and other major institutions. He is considered an expert on the molecular basis of aging, noise induced hearing loss, otologic/neurotologic-skull base surgery, all aspects of ear, nose, throat, head and neck surgery, tinnitus, herbal therapies, nutrition/antioxidants and their relationship to health, sports and aging. Seidman lectures around the world on such topics; has more than 80 major publications; numerous awards including being honored as one of the top Doctors in the USA (top 1%), the recipient of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Clinical Practitioner Excellence Award (given to one Otolaryngologist each year) and has been awarded a US patent on a supplement that positively effects age-related hearing loss. Additionally, he has multiple patents pending on, aging, mitochondrial function endurance enhancement, Alzheimer's disease, and surgical tools and techniques.
In 1997 he founded and became the CEO of Body Language Vitamin Co, whose emphasis is to promote health and enhance the lives of everyone through responsible vitamin, mineral, herbal and phytonutrient supplementation as well as dietary modifications, exercise and stress reduction. Seidman is also a Co-Editor for the International Tinnitus Journal and is on the Editorial Review Board for seven major Otolaryngology Journals and the American Journal of Chinese Medicine. Additionally he has been appointed to the State Medical Board of Audiology (appointment by Gov. Granholm), the Scientific or Medical Advisory Board of the Self Help for Hard of Hearing People Inc., the Life Extension Foundation, IntraEar, the Ear Research Foundation, Arches Company, Auris Medical, the American Tinnitus Association, Gel Tech (producers of homeopathic remedies), BASF (specifically on the work for SAMe) and WebMD (work related to analysis of weight loss/nutrition software).
He also serves as a consultant for many professional athletes, and is an advisor for several teams in the NHL, NFL and the ABA. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Lynn and has three wonderful children, Jake, Marlee and Kevin.
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