Food and nutrition professionals will continue to work with the food industry, allied health professionals, the government, the scientific community and the media to ensure that the public has accurate information regarding functional foods and thus should continue to educate themselves on this emerging area of food and nutrition science.
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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