October 14, 2015

Director's Letter 
Carole Baggerly 
Director, GrassrootsHealth 

At a seminar in Toronto in 2009, we had a panel of Drs Whiting, Heaney, Vieth and others addressing the question "What do we DO about it worldwide?"  To solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic is going to take a lot more options than supplementation.  There are very few places where supplementation actually fits; food fortification would also be a challenge in many countries.  What else is there?  Sun exposure?  Lighting?  Not at all least, is a twist on food fortification--fortifying animal foods so that the meat contains more vitamin D. Today is the first of three newsletters that discuss different ways we could be tackling vitamin D deficiency world-wide. This first news is centered around food fortification. Next week we will discuss vitamin D through natural foods, and the following week how lighting could be brought into the mix. 

Dr. Whiting is a very thoughtful and experienced nutrition oriented vitamin D researcher that I have known for many years.  Please read the information below, and, listen to her interview.  Let us know how you think food fortification 'fits' as a part of the solution.  We're eager for your input. 

Last week I attended Supply Side West, a gathering of the raw material manufacturers of supplement ingredients.  Lots of names of things that I hadn't ever heard of before!  Major learning experience was the extent to which 'natural' products have made inroads into the health of a significant number in our population. We'll be exploring this arena much more in the months to come.  

I'm off to Missoula, MT tomorrow to meet with Mary Pittaway, public health expert and leader of a movement to have a Protect our Children NOW! project in Montana.  More to come!  Things are moving very quickly.  

Carole Baggerly
Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
Addressing Vitamin D Deficiency through Food Fortification

Dr. Susan Whiting Susan J. Whiting, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.   
Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics
University of Saskatchewan

About Dr. Whiting

Dr. Whiting is a Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. For over 30 years she has conducted research on diet influences on bone health, specifically effects of protein, soft drinks, and calcium on children's bone growth. She has also investigated the effectiveness and use of nutrient supplements, acid-base effects on bone, and, in the past decade, the vitamin D status of Canadians.

Whiting is a member of Dietitians of Canada, the Canadian Society for Nutritional Sciences, the American Society for Nutrition and the American Public Health Association. She is a consultant to the Scientific Advisory Board for Osteoporosis Canada and is on the Steering Committee of Canada's Community Health Measures Survey. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Child Hunger and Education Program in Saskatoon. Internationally she sits on the International Institute for Bone Health and Nutrition.

pic of mic
Interview on Food Fortification

Please listen to this 10-minute interview with Dr. Whiting about food fortification. Some highlights from the interview include: 
  • it is improbable that anyone can get to a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 40 ng/ml through diet alone
  • the current level of food fortification in the United States and Canada gets people, on average, 200 IU/day of vitamin D 
  • to bring the population to a minimum 25(OH)D level of 20 ng/ml, we probably need more than 400 or 600 IU/day 
  • we need a combination of fortification and supplementation to reach 40 ng/ml
Some additional points include: 
  • the problem of iodine deficiency has been solved in many countries through fortification of salt 
  • fortification of folate/folic acid in flour has reduced neural tube defects in the US and Canada by at least 50% 
  • fortification can be targeted to meet the cultural needs of different countries as seen in ODIN in Europe
Recommended Reading

In 2013, Whiting and her colleague Mona Calvo published an in-depth analysis of the current status of food fortification in the US and Canada. It describes what is being fortified today, and uses the NHANES data to determine whether it is sufficient. This paper argues the need for mandatory food fortification in order to increase the population's vitamin D levels.

Survey of current vitamin D food fortification practices in the United States and Canada 

Mona S. Calvoa, Susan J. Whiting
Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
July 2013


As we continue to explore the relationship between vitamin D and cancer with data from D*action and a clinical trial led by Joan Lappe, PhD, RN, FAAN, at Creighton University, this week we would like to share with you the results comparing the types of cancers that were found in the Lappe vs. D*action cohorts. (For differences in overall cancer rate, please see last week's newsletter.) 

Click to View

Each cohort is comprised of women aged 55 years and older; the average serum 25(OH)D in the D*action cohort is 48 ng/ml, while in the Lappe cohort it is 30 ng/ml. There were a total of 58 cases of non-skin cancer within the combined D*action and Lappe clinical trial cohorts; 10 in the D*action cohort and 48 in the Lappe cohort.  Almost half of the cases were breast cancer and the next most common types were lung cancer and colon cancer (about 10% each).  The figure above shows the number of cases for each cancer type diagnosed in each cohort. 
Editor's Letter 
Susan Siljander 
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

For my family, I do not rely on fortification, because my goal is to get my whole family over 50 ng/ml, which won't be accomplished with 200 IU/day. I understand that fortification helped rid the US of rickets, (but rickets was solved with a serum level of only 20 ng/ml, not the best level for falls, cancer prevention to name a few). There are many ways to tackle the problem of vitamin D deficiency, and food fortification is just one of those ways. The next few weeks we will explore other ways, giving you information about different initiatives that are in the works today.

In the meantime, let's not wait for these initiatives to gain traction. Today, you could introduce someone new to vitamin D for prevention. Today, you could make a difference in someone's life. Make sure you check out our information about D*parties and brainstorm ways to have one today!

Let's get the word out NOW!

Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization  
Moving Research into Practice NOW!

Order Now
Order Your Home Vitamin D Test TODAY!
Your participation in this project funds all the GrassrootsHealth research and promotion.

All the latest research and news on breast cancer prevention
GrassrootsHealth has launched a breast cancer prevention project. Watch this video to learn more.  

Results from our Breast Cancer study show vitamin D levels > 50 ng/ml may provide additional reduction in breast cancer risk.

Addressing Vitamin D Deficiency through Food Fortification

Interview with Susan J. Whiting, B.Sc., M.Sc., PhD
University of Saskatchewan

D*party update

We had a very successful D*party on Monday of this week. D*action participant and local doctor, Rheeta Stecker, held a D*party at her church. She invited 60+ people and as the event got closer more and more energy was growing.

New people were
Educated about vitamin D

New people joined our
Breast Cancer Study!

Can you host a D*party?

Open to any US woman, 18 years or older, at 12-17 weeks of pregnancy

D*certified Practitioners

Take two CME courses online to become D*certified

Survey of current vitamin D food fortification practices in the United States and Canada
Mona S. Calvoa, Susan J. Whiting

Food-based solutions for optimal vitamin D nutrition and health through the life cycle

Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial
Joan Lappe

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