A vitamin for young and old

by Jeff Gelski
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Reasons to include vitamin D in grain-based foods have grown in number and pertain to both the young and the old. Few taste challenges exist when adding vitamin D to grain-based products, and it also may be added in cost-effective ways.

The Institute of Medicine in November 2010 increased its diet-ary reference intakes for vitamin D. People up to age 70 should consume 600 International Units (I.U.) of vitamin D, according to the I.O.M., while people older than 70 should consume 800 I.U. because of potential changes in people’s bodies as they age.

For the youth market, Sara Lee North American Fresh Bakery, Downers Grove, Ill., in August launched Sara Lee Iron Kids white bread nationally. Two slices contain 15% of the Daily Value of vitamin D as well as 40% of the Daily Value of calcium.

“We believe two demographic groups that can greatly benefit from vitamin-fortified grain-based foods are children and the elderly,” said Bill McKeown, vice-president of technical development for AB Mauri Fleischmann’s, St. Louis. “Both of these demographic groups are considered heavy users of grain-based foods and can benefit from the added nutrition.”

Jacinthe Cote, corporate com-munications manager of Lallemand, Inc., Montreal, added, “As a pro-fessional dietitian I believe that the following population sub-group may benefit from more nutritious grain-based foods: pregnant and lactating women, infants, children, adolescents and the elderly.”

Opportunity may exist to increase the presence of vitamin D-fortified grain-based foods in school lunch programs.

“Cost will be a function of the target R.D.I. level, but these nutrients at current usage levels are very inexpensive in relation to their value to children,” said Sam Wright, president and chief executive officer of the Wright Group, Crowley, La. “Vitamin D in particular is proving to be a very critical nutrient in the diet of children, and with milk consumption down, grain-based foods have a more important role to play.”

A study appearing on-line Aug. 18 in Environmental Health Perspectives gave credence to the stance of adding vitamin D to children’s food. Estimates in the study suggest American children may not be getting adequate exposure to the sun to satisfy their vitamin D3 needs all year. The researchers included Michael F. Holick, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University Medical Center and author of the book “The Vitamin D Solution.”

“There are good studies coming out, and we’re not getting enough vitamin D,” said Ram Chaudhari, senior executive vice-president and chief scientific officer of Fortitech, Schenectady, N.Y. “Every day there is something going on about vitamin D.”

No impact on flavor

When vitamin D is incorporated into grain-based foods, it does not affect the flavor and is stable, Dr. Chaudhari said. It normally is added just before the heating stage, he added. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and will need some sort of stabilizer, he said.

Delivering vitamin D at Daily Values of 20% or 90 I.U. per 100 grams may be a good idea, although the amount will depend on product type, said Al Vega, R.&D. laboratory manager, nutrition division, for Watson, Inc., West Haven, Conn.

“There will not be any negative effects in the flavor profile,” he said. “As with any nutrient, proper care at the processing time will alleviate any disintegration of the nutrient.”

Mr. Wright said, “Vitamin D is fairly stable, tasteless and easy to deal with in comparison to other ingredients, especially in the case of Wright’s newly improved, highly dispersible microencapsulated product.”

He estimated additional cost in the range of 0.5c to 0.7c per serving to add in suitable levels of vitamin D and calcium.

The I.O.M. report released in November of 2010 took into account nearly 1,000 published studies and found a large amount of evidence confirmed the roles of calcium and vitamin D in promoting skeletal growth and maintenance and the amounts needed to avoid poor bone health.

According to the 2011 IFIC Functional Foods/Foods for Health Consumer Trending Survey, 90% of Americans are aware vitamin D may promote bone health and reduce risk of osteoporosis and 92% are aware calcium promotes the same benefits. The survey also found 55% of Americans already are consuming vitamin D for the promotion of bone health and reduced risk of osteoporosis and another 41% are very/somewhat likely to do so. The percentages for calcium were 58% already consuming and 37% very/somewhat likely to do so.

Available in powder, tablet form

Ways to add vitamin D to grain-based foods abound.

AB Mauri Fleischmann’s offers vitamin D3 in powder and tablet forms.

“Vitamin D3 in powder form from AB Mauri Fleischmann’s can easily be added to dough, allowing application-specific fortification,” Mr. McKeown said. “Nutritional blends added to formulas through powder form can be applied based upon desired product attributes and independent of other ingredient requirements. This allows bakeries to decide what products they would like to fortify and is preferential to alternative ingredients that might be considered a carrier of vitamin D.

“Powdered form of vitamin D3 should be considered for many grain-based products as an easy form of fortification. It is most ideal when the powdered form is added, mixed, extruded and then baked or dried. In addition, powder form can be used in various nutritional beverages (shakes) or nutritional bars. This form can act as an easy-to-use additive.”

The tablet form of vitamin D3 also may be added to dough to allow application-specific fortification, he said.

“Tablets are typically used for nutritional supplements to baked goods,” he said. “Vitamin D3 tablets, like all tablets, should be dissolved in water prior to direct addition to the mixer. This form provides an excellent predictability of fortification level in bakery products.”

Lallemand offers Vita D bakers yeast that has a high content of vitamin D2. Lallemand certifies the vitamin content and consistency of each lot of bakers yeast sold to its customers, Ms. Cote said.

“We also provide technical support and a calculator to help our clients make proper use of our yeast to get the desired leavening effect and vitamin D content in their final product,” she said. “Lallemand also offers high vitamin D content tablets so bakers can confidently achieve specific levels in the end product.”

Calcium taste challenges

More so than adding vitamin D, adding calcium to grain-based foods may raise taste issues.

“Calcium carbonate is the world’s most prevalent source of calcium fortification but has the attribute of alkaline pH and consequently can affect the taste of foods to which it is added,” said Dave Pfefer, product manager – fortification for Caravan Ingredients, Lenexa, Kas. “Re-precipitated calcium carbonate can address this problem and can also eliminate minute traces of impurities, which can affect taste.

“Calcium sulfate has a more neutral pH and does not affect the food’s taste as much. Super fine milling of all calcium salts (micronizing) will not affect taste but will improve mouthfeel by eliminating grittiness. Calcium lactate and calcium gluconate are both water-soluble and bland.”

Mr. Vega said Watson recommends adding a maximum level of 10% Daily Value of calcium in baked products such as bread. He also said to consider the type of calcium source.

“Not all types of calcium forms will be friendly to the product,” Mr. Vega said. “A higher DV may affect the physical structure of the end product, unless you are using dairy ingredients as part of the composition. Other baked goods such as food bars can have a range of 10% to 35% DV of calcium.”

Caravan Ingredients this year introduced Invisible Goodness Natural Base to produce single-serve, yeast-raised bakery items. It offers an excellent source of calcium at 20% or more of the Daily Value, a good source of vitamin D at 10% to 19% of the Daily Value and a good source of fiber at 10% to 19% of the Daily Value.

“Products made using the Invisible Goodness natural base can be made into a variety of shapes, forms and flavors for use in many markets such as school systems, in-store bakeries and convenience stores,” said Abby Ceule, marketing services manager, Caravan Ingredients. “The base is designed to meet the production set-up and food categories that a manufacturer is currently operating in. One could make an apple Danish, blueberry lemon bar or cinnamon twist just to name a few. The Invisible Goodness natural base is completely customizable and comes in two forms, a base and a concentrate, to meet the varied production needs of today’s manufacturers.”

Cookies, pizza as opportunity

Cookies may be another opportunity for fortification. For example, the WhoNu? cookies from Suncore Products, L.L.C., Denver, contain Daily Value amounts per serving for such nutrients as vitamin A (20%), calcium (30%), vitamin D (25%), vitamin K (10%), riboflavin (10%), vitamin B6 (10%), vitamin B12 (20%) and vitamin C (25%).

The Wright Group has developed prototype pizza designed for school lunch programs. Judging by the line of people waiting for the pizza at the company’s booth during annual Institute of Food Technologists’ expositions, adults enjoy the pizza, too.

“The pizza we serve at I.F.T. has become iconic,” Mr. Wright said. “It is designed for use in school lunch programs and has a wide array of nutrients, including 400 mg of omega-3s from our proprietary microencapsulated fish oil. The dough used also contains the following nutrients at these R.D.I. levels per serving: thiamine 25%, riboflavin 10%, niacin 15%, folic acid 6%, vitamin C 40% (from Wright’s Bake-stable product), vitamin A 40%, calcium 35% and iron 50%.” 

Folic acid message

should strive to reach Spanish-speaking women

Public health efforts should focus on increasing total folic acid intake among Mexican American women, emphasizing those with lower acculturation factors such as speaking Spanish, according to a study that appeared on-line Aug. 24 in The Journal of Nutrition. The study involved researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.

The researchers used data from NHANES 2001-08 to estimate folate intakes for U.S. non-Hispanic white women and Mexican American women. Estimated intakes came from a total of 3,167 women between the ages of 15-44. The mean total usual folic acid intakes were lower among Mexican American women who reported speaking Spanish but not for Mexican American women who reported speaking English.

The study acknowledged folic acid consumption may prevent neural tube defects and that Hispanic women have a higher prevalence of neural tube defects than non-Hispanic white women. Mexican American women in the study were more likely than non-Hispanic white women to consume less than 400 micrograms of folic acid per day.

The March of Dimes urges all women of childbearing age to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily beginning before pregnancy and continuing into the early months of pregnancy. Bread, crackers, bagels, pasta, pretzels and tortillas made from fortified, enriched white flour are sources of folic acid.

The March of Dimes previously released a study that revealed 17% of Spanish-speaking women of child-bearing age in the United States are taking a multivitamin containing folic acid daily.

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