Drinking vitamin D innovation

by Jeff Gelski
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Now that the Institute of Medicine has tripled the recommended daily intake level of vitamin D for a majority of the U.S. population, manufacturers may wish to explore different delivery systems for the vitamin. Beverages and baked foods are two possibilities.

LycoRed, Beer Sheeva, Israel, has launched CapsuDar D3 CWD, a clear, soluble vitamin D3 suited for beverages, including flavored or functional waters. The ingredient dissolves instantly and stays stable across a range of pH levels.

“Our job was to make a product that will enable (companies) to make a high-dosage product,” said Udi Alroy, vice-president of global marketing and sales for LycoRed. “For example, they can choose to make a 50% R.D.I. in smoothies or milk drinks. In water or near-water application, we find that the usual dosage is between 8% to 12% as consumers tend to drink a few bottles a day.”

A microencapsulated, water-dispersible preparation protects the normally fat-soluble vitamin against light, oxidation and acids that normally inactivate vitamin D3 when added to beverage applications.

“In the past couple of years there has been a significant increase in consumer awareness and scientific research showing an array of benefits of vitamin D,” Mr. Alroy said. “With this new development we provide a competitive edge to existing vitamin D3 products currently on the market.”

A fortified water with vitamin D already exists at retail. Vitaminwater, owned by Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co., launched Vitaminwater Stur-D last October. Each 8-oz serving contains 10% of the Daily Value of vitamin D and calcium.

DSM offers Quali-D in both liquid and dry powder forms as a way to add vitamin D to products. Applications include 100% fruit juices, fruit juice drinks, soy-protein based meal replacement beverages, process cheese, cheese food products, meal replacement products, ready-to-eat cereal, bread, pasta, margarine and spreads, said Todd Sitkowski, senior marketing manager for the Human Nutrition and Health business unit of DSM Nutritional Products, Inc.

In the baked foods category, bread made with Vita D bakers yeast is bioavailable and improves bone quality, according to a study of vitamin D-deficient rats that appeared on-line Feb. 18 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Montreal-based Lallemand offers Vita D bakers yeast, which has a high vitamin D2 content.

“These results suggest that the bioavailability of this innovative source of vitamin D2 obtained from bread made with vitamin D-rich bakers yeast is comparable to a vitamin D3 supplement,” said Connie M. Weaver, a professor and head of the Department of Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Dr. Weaver led the study, which also included researchers from North Dakota State University in Fargo. The researchers randomly assigned 80 four-week-old male rats to diets containing 25 international units (I.U.), 100 I.U., 200 I.U. or 1,000 I.U. of vitamin D sourced from either a Vitamin D3 supplement or bread made with Vita D bakers yeast. The plasma vitamin D status and bone health markers of the rats were monitored.

Results showed a dose-dependent rise in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level with the bread made with the bakers yeast. When the vitamin D2 content was increased to 1,000 I.U. from 25 I.U., there was an improvement in bone health markers similar to the improvement with the vitamin D3 supplement. The bone health markers included mineral content and density, geometry, volume and connectivity.

“This new scientific evidence should help convince bakers and consumers that bread and yeast-leavened goods can be effective natural daily sources of vitamin D through the use of Lallemand/American yeasts,” said Jean Chagnon, chief executive officer of Lallemand.

Findings from both the Institute of Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans reflect positively on vitamin D.

A report issued Nov. 30, 2010, by the I.O.M. set daily reference intakes (D.R.I.s) for vitamin D at 600 I.U. for people age 1 to 70 and at 800 I.U. for people over age 70. The levels compare to I.O.M. levels set in 1997 of 200 I.U. for people up to age 50, 400 I.U. for people age 51 to 70, and 600 I.U. for people over age 70.

“The Institute of Medicine realized that the recommendations from 1997 are woefully inadequate and increased the recommended intake for most children and adults by 200%,” said Michael Holick, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine and author of the book “The Vitamin D

Solution.” “Most importantly, they recognized that vitamin D is not as toxic as once thought and increased the upper limit by two-fold (to 4,000 I.U. for many age groups). This should make it easier to increase the number of foods that can be fortified with vitamin D and to increase the amount per serving.”

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans released this year recommend people choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets.

“Without a doubt, it further enhances and validates the very strong message that has been frequently communicated over the last couple of years in academia as well as the consumer and trade media regarding the important role vitamin D plays in overall health and wellness,” Mr. Sitkowski said. “This is highlighted by the fact that the guidelines make multiple recommendations that include the consumption of vitamin D, both from natural sources and fortified products.”

The I.O.M. report found most Americans and Canadians are getting enough vitamin D and calcium. The report said calcium and vitamin D promote bone health, but more evidence is needed to support other health benefits, such as protecting against cancer.

“Outcomes related to cancer/neoplasms, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, falls and physical performance, immune functioning and autoimmune disorders, infections, neuropsychological functioning, and preeclampsia could not be linked reliably with calcium or vitamin D and were often conflicting,” the report said.

However, vitamin D’s potential to assist in cancer prevention was addressed in the report “Nutrients Impacting Men’s Health” presented by Ram Chaudhari, senior executive vice-president and chief scientific officer for Fortitech, Inc., Schenectady, N.Y. Calcium and vitamin D play a protective role in colon cancer, according to the report.

Dr. Chaudhari also wrote, “While reducing U.V.-ray exposure is critical in the prevention of skin cancer, there is no sure way to prevent skin cancer with nutrient supplementation. However, adequate vitamin D intake and antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, and antioxidants found in black and green tea, carotenoids, and flavonoids derived from fruits and vegetables show promise in preventing U.V.-induced skin damage.”

The report included formulations for a powdered high-protein beverage with 100 I.U. of vitamin D and a fortified whole grain snack with 30% of the Daily Value of vitamin D.

Dr. Holick cited studies examining vitamin D’s positive effects on such issues as seasonal influenza, asthma, respiratory tract infections and blood pressure in a story he wrote that appeared in the February issue of Nature Reviews/Endocrinology.

Dr. Holick also gave his views about potential future increases in recommended vitamin D intake in an article he wrote that appeared in the January/February issue of Endocrine Practice.

“As more randomized controlled trials report on the non-skeletal health benefits of vitamin D, the recommendations will likely be to increase vitamin D intake to at least 1,000 I.U. of vitamin D daily for children and 2,000 I.U. of vitamin D daily for adults,” he wrote.

In the article Dr. Holick pointed out people once believed the world was flat.

“One has to wonder whether during Copernicus’ time, if an Agency for Astronomical Research and Quality (A.A.R.Q.) had reviewed all of the astronomical observations by the experts and included Copernicus’s and Galileo’s observations, would they have concluded that the world was round?” he wrote. “We know what happened to them when they voiced their opinions and published their observational studies proposing that the world was round. How many more randomized controlled astronomical trials would have been needed for A.A.R.Q. to conclude that the world was round, as Copernicus and Galileo proclaimed?”

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