ADA takes a position on health claims by ProQuest


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									          inform June 2009, Vol. 20 (6)                 367

       what are considered “normal” or “optimal”       of vitamin D, which is typically found in       professionals will continue to work with the
       vitamin D levels. To understand vitamin         the blood of small children.                    food industry, allied health professionals,
       D’s role in health and disease, and use that         By using these four blood samples          the government, the scientific community
       knowledge in everyday medicine, labora-         as reference points, clinical laboratories      and the media to ensure that the public has
       tories need better measurement standards,       can calibrate their instruments and mea-        accurate information regarding functional
       the researchers said.                           surement techniques to ensure more accu-        foods and thus should continue to educate
             “No one really knows what methods or      rate and reliable vitamin D measurements        themselves on this emerging area of food
       assays are correct at this point,” said Mary    for blood samples so doctors can make           and nutrition science.”
       Bedner, an analytical chemist with the          the right treatment decisions. As a result,          The paper includes definitions of the
       National Institute of Standards and Tech-       testing based on this standard can more reli-   terms as used in different countries and
       nology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland,        ably tell patients whether they are getting     notes that “functional foods” is a marketing
       USA. “Right now, you can send a blood           enough vitamin D and provide information        and not a legal term. The ADA defines func-
       sample to two different labs and get com-       about what forms of vitamin D they need         tional foods as those that “move beyond
       pletely different results for vitamin D.”       to take to stay healthy, the researchers say.   necessity to provide additional health ben-
             About three years ago, NIST, the               “Accuracy is key,” Bedner says. “We        efits that may reduce disease risk and/or
       federal government agency that sets mea-        need to provide a reference material that       promote optimal health. Functional foods
       surement standards, began efforts to develop    other people can trust.”                        include conventional foods, modified foods
       a standard for measuring vitamin D in col-           The researchers plan to make their         (fortified, enriched, or enhanced), medical
       laboration with the National Institutes of      reference standard commercially available       foods, and foods for special dietary uses.”
       Health’s (NIH’s) Office of Dietary Supple-      within the next year. NIST and NIH funded            Examples of conventional food with
       ments. Later this year, after much consulta-    the research.                                   functional properties include broccoli,
       tion with experts and extensive laboratory                                                      nuts, and tomatoes. Modified foods include
       testing, NIST scientists plan to unveil their
       standard to the public in a development that    ADA takes a                                     calcium-enhanced orange juice, folate-
                                                                                                       enriched breads, and foods formulated
       promises to lead to a better understanding
       of vitamin D in health and disease.             position on health                              with bioactive ingredients such as fish oils,
                                                                                                       plant sterol esters, or lutein. Medical foods
             The most commonly used indicator of

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