Vitamin D: proven public health benefits

Presented by

Professor Mairead Kiely, Manfred Eggersdorfer and Jacob Bauly

About this talk

Vitamin D intake is low among the world’s population, which is a major contributor to clinical deficiency and a persistently high prevalence of low vitamin D status, particularly during wintertime at high (or low) latitude. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to the development of nutritional rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, both seriously debilitating conditions that are completely preventable with an adequate dietary supply of vitamin D and calcium. Regardless of which international recommended intake is selected, the current supply of vitamin D in commonly consumed foods makes it unfeasible for most people to meet their dietary requirements for vitamin D without supplementation. Emerging scientific evidence from the EC-funded ODIN project suggests that many foods, including fish, eggs, meats as well as dairy products could be part of a public health strategy for vitamin D deficiency prevention in the population. This would positively impact public health in a cost-effective and inclusive way. While most European countries are impacted by suboptimal vitamin D status, Finland is the exception. In 2003, the country introduced a national regulation which includes mandatory fortification of milk and margarine spreads. The population has now achieved a vitamin D status of 75nmol/L. Recently, the Swedish National Food Agency (NFA) proposed to introduce a similar regulation that will go a step further by extending the products subject to mandatory vitamin D fortification. *This information is solely for scientific informational purposes only and not intended for marketing and/or sales claims purposes.

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