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TalkingNutrition

Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

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EFSA Recognizes Vitamin D helps Maintain the Immune System

By Michael McBurney

Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system”.  This is the conclusion of the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). The expert committee determined a cause and effect relationship exists between the dietary intake of vitamin D and contribution to the normal function of the immune system.  It is a beneficial effect.

This scientific opinion extends the benefits of vitamin D beyond recognized benefits in the maintenance of normal bones and teeth. Regardless of age, vitamin D partially regulates bone and tooth mineralization. Previously, EFSA NDA committees have approved claims for calcium and vitamin D on bone strength and reduction or risk of osteoporotic fractures by reducing bone loss.

The plethora of EFSA and FDA-approved health claims for calcium, vitamin D and bone health, conducted by different expert panels, renders claims of complicity by specialist societies in the field of nutrition osteoporosis to conjecture – opinions based on incomplete information.

In Europe, a Vitamin D intake of 10 ug daily is considered adequate for the majority of infants and toddlers <36 months in Europe. The Upper Limit (UL) for infants under 1 year of age is 25 µg  (1,000 IU) daily, 50 µg (2,000 IU) for children 1-10y, and 100 µg (4,000 IU) for everyone > 11y.  Although not recommended, there isn’t evidence of adverse events from consuming the UL for extended periods of time. Indeed, data on high consumers of vitamin D in 14 European countries finds intakes are still below the UL for all population groups.

Food products bearing vitamin D health claims in Europe must provide at least 15% of the reference value for food labeling. In the US, ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ sources require 10% and 20% of the Daily Value (DV), respectively. The FDA is currently seeking comments on proposed revisions of the Nutrition and Supplements Facts Labels but the discussion is not focused on vitamin D. Unfortunately, as regulations restrict food fortification with vitamin D.

As a consequence, most people rely upon sun exposure or dietary supplementation to maintain serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations above 50 nmol/L. The experts have opined. Vitamin D is important for our bones, teeth, and immune system.

Main Citation

Vitamin D and contribution to the normal function of the immune system: evaluation of a health claim pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. 2015 EFSA J doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4182

Other Citations

Scientific opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to vitamin D and contribution to normal bone and tooth development pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. 2014 EFSA J doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2014.3579

Scientific opinion on the substantiation of a health related to calcium and vitamin D and bone strength pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006[1] – Scientific opinion of the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies. 2008 EFJSA J doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2008.828

Scientific opinion in relation to the authorization procedure for health claims on calcium and vitamin D and the reduction of risk of osteoporotic fractures by reducing bone loss pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006[1] – Scientific opinion of the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies. 2008 EFJSA J doi: 10.2930;j.efsa.2010.1609

Grey A, Bolland M. Web of industry, advocacy, and academia in the management of osteoporosis. 2015 BMJ doi:10.1136/bmj.h3170

Scientific opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). 2013 EFSA J doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2013.3408

Scientific opinion on the tolerable upper intake level of vitamin D. . EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). 2013 EFSA J doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2813


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