Rethinking โ€˜healthyโ€™ to support structure-function claims for supplements

As 69% of adults between the ages of 40 and 79 are prescribed at least one medication, and 22.4% use at least five prescription medications, scientific and regulatory experts from the U.S. and Canada argue that a fundamental change is needed to include more participants in clinical trials. ย 

โ€œThe current constraints and limitations are frustrating in identifying โ€˜healthy populationsโ€™ when concepts and definitions of the term have changed over the years, and it is no longer possible to choose the best population for a study, resulting in data that [cannot be generalized] to the national population,โ€ Dr Malkanthi Evans, an author on the study, told NutraIngredients-USA. โ€œConsumersโ€™ expectations have changed due to longer lifespans. Therefore, there is an [onus on] researchers to challenge the use of outdated markers of health and more importantly the traditional classifications of disease.โ€ ย 

Regular access to medical care and lifestyle management can mean most chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, arthritis and osteoporosis, as examples, may be managed well. This allows most individuals to consider themselves in good health, and even without symptoms. Instead of pursuing โ€˜absenceโ€™ of disease, a more innovative definition of health is required as the definition of โ€˜healthyโ€™, the paper noted.

The researchers argue that โ€˜physiologically stableโ€™ or โ€˜apparently healthyโ€™ are better terms to replace the โ€˜healthyโ€™ descriptor in order to better represent the population.ย Supplements are sold and taken by the general population, and the clinical trials scientists conduct need to represent the markets in which they are sold, they added.ย 

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