ASMI says Vitamin D a nutrient of public health significance

03 April 2014

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3 April 2014 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said that the importance of Vitamin D continues to be recognised. This was in response to two papers and an editorial published in the British Medical Journal today which found beneficial results of Vitamin D. 1,2,3

Steve Scarff, ASMI Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Director, said: "The body of scientific research demonstrating beneficial results for Vitamin D has grown in recent years. We know that Vitamin D is crucial for many bodily functions, as well as a tool for helping calcium absorption, which is essential to building strong bones.
"In the first paper, the researchers found an inverse association between Vitamin D levels and death due to cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes. They also found that supplementation with Vitamin D 3 significantly reduces overall mortality among older adults.

"We agree with the study authors that further research should be done to identify an optimal dose and duration for this encouraging finding; but there is enough positive research currently to indicate that people with a Vitamin D deficiency should be supplementing with it for a variety of positive health outcomes.
"The second paper found 'probable and suggestive' evidence of positive health outcomes associated with Vitamin D levels such as birth weight, dental caries in children, and maternal Vitamin D at term. However the researchers said that firm universal conclusions about the benefits of Vitamin D could not be drawn. They reviewed observational studies, which they mention have limitations, and recommended that further studies and better designed trials be conducted to draw firmer conclusions.
"The importance of Vitamin D continues to be recognised by the scientific, medical and regulatory communities. In its latest review of Vitamin D, the U.S. Institute of Medicine (a scientific advisory board to the U.S. government) raised the recommended levels for it. Last month, in a recently released proposed rule from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration on nutrition and supplements facts labels, the agency identified Vitamin D as a 'nutrient of public health significance,' advising that Vitamin D content be listed on food labels.
"It is important for patients and their healthcare practitioners to work together to ensure they are getting the recommended amount of Vitamin D-which is not easily obtainable through food alone, and may not be safely available through the sun, making Vitamin D supplements a beneficial alternative," says Mr Scarff.
-ENDS-

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Marie Kelly-Davies
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
P: 9923 9410 M:0408 256 381 E: marie@asmi.com.au


About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines. Its members make up 85 per cent of the $4bn self care market. Membership totals 60 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 17,000 people with exports estimated at $600 million annually. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy (www.asmi.com.au).

References
1. Chowdhury R, Kunutsor S, Vitezova A, et al. Vitamin D and risk of cause specific death: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational cohort and randomised intervention studies. BMJ. 2014;348:g1903 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g1903.
2. Theodoratou E, Tzoulaki I, Zgaga L, Ioannidis J. Vitamin D and multiple health outcomes: umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies and randomised trials. BMJ. 2014;348:g2035 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g2035.
3. Welsh P, Sattar N. Vitamin D and chronic disease prevention. BMJ. 2014;348:g2280 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g2280.