December 8, 2010
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report was released November 30 in Washington, DC, after two years of study and debate. The IOM had not changed its dietary guidelines for vitamin D since 1997.
For vitamin D, the IOM recommended:
• Everyone ages 1 to 70 should take 600 IU daily.
• Adults older than 70 should take 800 IU daily to optimize bone health.
• The safe upper limit for infants up to six months is 1,000 IU daily.
• The safe upper limit for infants six to 12 months is 1,500 IU daily.
• The safe upper limit for children 1 to 3 years old is 2,500 IU daily.
• The safe upper limit for children 4 to 8 years old is 3,000 IU daily.
• The safe upper limit for everyone older than 8 is 4,000 IU daily.
News headlines varied greatly on their interpretations of the report. The New York Times carried on its front page an article headlined “Extra Vitamin D and Calcium Aren’t Necessary, Report Says.” The same day’s Wall Street Journal headline read “Triple That Vitamin D Intake, Panel Prescribes.”
“The good news is that the IOM recognized that the amount of vitamin D recommended in 1997 was inadequate,” said Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University, a leading expert on vitamin D and author of The Vitamin D Solution (Hudson Street Press, 2010). However, the IOM levels are only 60 percent of what he recommends. “What is needed now is more randomized controlled trials to convince them,” he said.
And the upper levels can go higher? “Absolutely. Children can go up to 5,000 units a day, easily,” he said. “Adults can go up to 10,000 a day—I don’t recommend it, but they can. Overall, from my perspective, I consider it a positive step in the right direction but they need to go further.”
Dr. Andrew Shao, senior vice president scientific and regulatory affairs, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), agreed with Holick that the new recommendations are “a modest step in the right direction. While the new recommendations will benefit the public overall, there is significant scientific evidence demonstrating a potential need for vitamin D intake at levels up to 2,000 IU daily for adults to maintain optimal blood levels ranging between 30 and 45 ng/mL."
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According to a report by the Associated Press, the largely bipartisan Senate bill appeared to be headed for quick passage in the House, which would have sent it to President Barack Obama’s desk. But House Democrats said that it contains fees that are considered tax provisions, which under Congressional rules are supposed to originate in the House. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), chided the Senate for making the mistake and said the House is trying to find a way to resolve the issue in the few remaining days of the Congressional session.
“The Senate knows this rule and should follow this rule,” he said.
The $1.4 billion bill passed the Senate 73-25 on Tuesday, November 30. It would increase Food and Drug Administration inspections of food facilities, place stricter standards on imported foods and give the agency broader authority to order a recall. Supporters say passage is critical after widespread outbreaks of salmonella and E. coli in peanuts, eggs and produce.
No matter how Democratic leaders plan to proceed, the bill could now run into a number of obstacles as Republicans may attempt to block it.
“OTA is pleased that this important legislation has passed and very excited that it includes OTA’s proposal for an organic pilot program giving children access to organic foods as part of healthy school feeding programs,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director and CEO. “The health status of our children is crucial to the well-being of our nation’s future, and the food that they are fed in schools is key to their health status.”
The bill, which passed the Senate before the August recess, moved through the House of Representatives, with House passage in a 264-157 vote.
Under the Organic Pilot Program, competitive grants favoring socially disadvantaged schools will be offered for schools to increase organic offerings in their meal programs. Because the Organic Pilot Program is not mandatory, the Appropriations Committee will decide on funding for the program.
In addition to the Organic Pilot Program, the bill includes a $40 million Farm-to-School Program that OTA also supported. This mandatory funding will provide a robust competitive grant and technical assistance program in the US Department of Agriculture to increase the use of local foods from small- and medium-sized farms in schools. The final bill also provides the first increase in meal reimbursement rates, other than that based on inflation, since the 1970s, and streamlines enrollment in school meal programs.Compared to the Senate bill, the House Education and Labor bill was substantially more expensive. Therefore, the House voted to pass the Senate’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which costs $4.5 billion and is offset by supplemental food stamp benefits from the stimulus bill.
“This study is very exciting,” said Dr. James Elliott, DSM’s NAA director of nutritional science, “and we believe it may provide further support on the eye health benefits of lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, and demonstrate their potential to help save the sight of thousands of individuals every year.”
Researchers in AREDS2 are providing daily supplementation of 10mg of FloraGLO Lutein and 2mg OPTISHARP Zeaxanthin and/or ROPUFA Omega-3 fatty acids in people at moderate to high risk for the progression of advanced AMD. Data is being collected and assessed on approximately 4,000 participants aged 50 to 85 who, at the time of enrollment, had either bilateral large drusen, a clinically recognized ocular finding that can lead to blindness, or large drusen in one eye and advanced AMD in the other.
Hjaltason has more than two decades of experience in the omega-3 industry and is considered one of the top experts on trends and science in the marine-based omega-3 category.
“I look forward to leading GOED’s board of directors as we work to grow the organization’s membership, provide education on the rapidly expanding omega-3 industry and communicate the many health benefits of these essential fatty acids,” said Hjaltason. “The most important task for GOED is to protect and move the EPA and DHA omega-3 category forward. There is more worldwide attention on this category than ever before, which provides both challenges and opportunities. The work that GOED is doing on behalf of the omega-3 industry this year is at a crucial point and I’m excited to see our goals accomplished.”Overseeing all B2B sales for EPAX AS in North America, Japan and China, Hjaltason also manages strategic business development for EPAX. Hjaltason is a member of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, AOCS and Lipid Forum, and has written several papers and a book chapter on the omega-3 field. Hjaltason holds a degree in chemistry from University of Iceland and conducted post-research work at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.