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Vitamin D a nutrient of public health significance

NZSMI says Vitamin D a nutrient of public health significance

7 April 2014 – The New Zealand Self Medication Industry (SMI) today said that the importance of Vitamin D continues to be recognised. This was in response to two papers and an editorial published in the latest British Medical Journal which found beneficial results of Vitamin D. 1,2,3

Tim Roper, SMI executive director said: “The body of scientific research demonstrating beneficial results for Vitamin D has grown in recent years. We know that Vitamin D is crucial for many bodily functions, as well as a tool for helping calcium absorption, which is essential to building strong bones.

“In the first paper, the researchers found an inverse association between Vitamin D levels and death due to cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes. They also found that supplementation with Vitamin D 3 significantly reduces overall mortality among older adults.

“We agree with the study authors that further research should be done to identify an optimal dose and duration for this encouraging finding; but there is enough positive research currently to indicate that people should be supplementing with Vitamin D for a variety of positive health outcomes.

“The second paper found ‘probable and suggestive’ evidence of positive health outcomes associated with Vitamin D levels such as birth weight, dental caries in children, and maternal Vitamin D at term. However the researchers said that firm universal conclusions about the benefits of Vitamin D could not be drawn. They reviewed observational studies, which they mention have limitations, and recommended that further studies and better designed trials be conducted to draw firmer conclusions.

“The importance of Vitamin D continues to be recognised by the scientific, medical and regulatory communities. In its latest review of Vitamin D, the U.S. Institute of Medicine (a scientific advisory board to the U.S. government) raised the recommended levels for Vitamin D. Last month, in a recently released proposed rule from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration on nutrition and supplements facts labels, the agency identified Vitamin D as a ‘nutrient of public health significance,’ advising that Vitamin D content be listed on food labels.

“It is important for patients and their healthcare practitioners to work together to ensure they are getting the recommended amount of vitamin D - which is not easily obtainable through food alone, and may not be safely available through the sun, making Vitamin D supplements a safe and beneficial alternative,” says Mr Roper.


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