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TODAY’S HEADLINE STORY: Vitamin D Added to FDA Osteoporosis Risk-Reduction Health Claim

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that it has amended its osteoporosis risk reduction health claim to reflect the importance of vitamin D, in combination with calcium, in promoting long-term bone health. The amended rule also includes a broader definition of the populations that could benefit from consuming calcium and vitamin D to include both men and women of all ages and races.

2008-09-30-d-for-osteoporosis-copy.jpgAccording to Coca Cola — which manufactures beverages such as orange juice supplemented with vitamin D — the amended labeling regulation explains that vitamin D is required for the normal absorption of calcium, and authorizes the health claim: “Adequate calcium and vitamin D throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.”

“Osteoporosis is a growing public health crisis, and all Americans, men and women alike, will benefit from knowing that vitamin D along with calcium can help delay or prevent the onset of this disease,” said Robert P. Heaney MD, FACP, John A. Creighton University Professor and Professor of Medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. “Along with weight-bearing exercise, the most valuable intervention for maintaining bone health is an overall healthful diet that supplies adequate amounts of all nutrients such as vitamin D.”

Indoor tanning facilities still should only report that UVB exposure to the skin is the natural source of vitamin D. But the ruling apparently clears the way for foods supplemented with vitamin D to start making health claims relating to osteoporosis prevention.