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The Condition Specific Report: Answering 'Why?'

September 2022: Global Issue

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LETTER FROM NBJ: THE PERSPECTIVE OF PRIVILEGE

We often hear about the advantage, militarily and figuratively, of the “the higher ground,” but the view from the top is rarely the best perspective. In the U.S., that view is often taken for granted. We think about the world as a mountain of haves and have-nots with Americans always on the upper slopes. The world’s biggest economy driven by the world’s biggest egos.

That view is a poor fit for global realities.

Problems on the other side of the world don’t drift across the oceans to wash up on American shores. They arrive by jetliner and off load from towering cargo ships.

We are not immune to the world’s ills. The view from the top was simply distorted.

Rarely has that been clearer than in the last several years. The pandemic knew no borders and infected and incapacitated wellfed and well-cared-for Americans as easily as it did residents of the poorest countries.

The war in Ukraine might be on the other side of the planet but it’s already disrupting the global nutritional balance and not just in the fight against world hunger. The feedstock for the processes that produce letter micronutrients is more expensive. All that sunflower oil that used to come out of Ukraine and go into animal feed is being replaced with fish oil, a phenomenon set to drive up prices for omega-3 supplements.

Too many Americans are already ignoring climate change and howling about new laws to create a carbon-balanced future.

That’s what happens when your vision is distorted by that view from the top.

The supplement industry has no business looking at the world through such a distorted lens. Every headline in that catastrophic news scroll carries some element of nutritional need, many that the industry is in a position to help address. In Supplements Hitting their Stride, page 29, IADSA Executive Director Simon Pettman writes of how the pandemic opened the eyes of government officials to the value of supplements and calls for the industry to band together to build momentum there.

Also in this issue, (see “The currency challenge,“ page 4), we learn how the saber rattling of trade hawks is set to disrupt a global supply chain even further, and we wonder when the supplement industry will find a voice in that debate.

We can think of all the frogs boiling in all those pots fueled by climate change and wonder if UNPA President Loren Israelsen’s warnings about water and energy (see page 10) are being accounted for in the industry’s supply chain planning.

Because the view from the top is beautiful doesn’t mean it’s accurate. If we don’t crawl down the slopes to gain perspective often enough, finding our way back to the top could be impossible.