Healthcare Professionals Have Responsibility Not to Promote Misleading Ingredients

Council for Responsible Nutrition responds to tragedy in Japan

By Douglas MacKay, ND

Healthcare practitioners should be particularly mindful about the situation in Japan regarding their patients’ interest and potential use of potassium iodide. The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) has advised its member companies—and posted a statement to its website—that potassium iodide used at the appropriate time and level of 130 mg daily may be effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in individuals or populations at risk for inhalation or ingestion of radioiodines. However, nutritional uses (ie, dietary supplements) of potassium iodide are designed specifically to meet nutritional needs and would therefore contain much lower levels of potassium iodide; consequently these supplement products will not have the same effect as the drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this purpose. Further, potassium iodide works best if used within three to four hours of exposure, and should not be used as a long-term prophylactic measure against radiation exposure.

Nutritional uses (ie, dietary supplements) of potassium iodide are designed specifically to meet nutritional needs and would therefore contain much lower levels of potassium iodide.

FDA has posted information on the use of potassium iodide, and these materials will be of interest to healthcare practitioners and can provide useful advice for patients.

“Like all industries, we are closely following what is happening in Japan and are also closely monitoring actions from our government and plan to follow their lead as appropriate. At the same time, we are sensitive to the impact this situation is having on Japan’s economy, and are mindful of how misinformation and rumors could further hurt the businesses that support that country’s population. Our hearts are with our colleagues.”

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About the Author

Douglas "Duffy" MacKay, ND, is Senior Vice President, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). MacKay oversees CRN’s science and regulatory affairs department to ensure that the association’s scientific, policy, and legislative positions are based on credible scientific rationale. His expertise combines practical knowledge of industry regulation and scientific product development with hands-on experience as a medical practitioner. He is a licensed naturopathic doctor who still sees patients on a part-time basis in an integrative medical practice. MacKay serves on the advisory board for the American Botanical Council and on the NSF International Joint Committee on Dietary Supplements. He is also chair of the Steering Committee for the Standardized Information on Dietary Ingredients (SIDI) Work Group. MacKay earned his degree in marine biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his naturopathic degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.