Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal current issue

Backpack Programs and the Crisis Narrative of Child Hunger—A Critical Review of the Rationale, Targeting, and Potential Benefits and Harms of an Expanding but Untested Model of Practice

AbstractIn recent years, school-based food backpack programs (BPPs) have come into national prominence as a response to a perceived crisis of child hunger in America. Distributing bags of free food directly to schoolchildren for their own personal consumption each weekend, BPPs bring together private donors, faith communities, and public schools around an intuitively appealing project: children are hungry, and so we give them food. Perhaps because of their intuitive appeal, BPPs have expanded rapidly, without rigorous evaluation to determine their impacts on children, families, and schools. This Perspective aims to open up thinking about BPPs, first articulating the implicit conceptual model that undergirds BPPs, drawing on documentation offered by major program providers and on our own experience working with several schools implementing BPPs, to provide a window into what BPPs do and how and why they do it. We focus in particular on how the crisis narrative of child hunger has shaped the BPP model and on the related interplay between public sympathy and the neoliberal climate in which structural solutions to family poverty are eschewed. We then assess the BPP model in light of existing knowledge, concluding that BPPs fit poorly with the needs of the majority of children living in food-insecure households in the United States and consequently put children at risk of negative consequences associated with worry, shame, stigma, and disruptions to family functioning. Finally, we provide recommendations for practice and research, emphasizing the importance of 1) responding to children's actual needs throughout program implementation, 2) avoiding unnecessary risks by effective targeting of services to only those children who need them, and 3) rigorously evaluating program outcomes and unintended consequences to determine whether, even for the small number of US children who experience hunger, the benefits of the BPP model outweigh its psychosocial costs.

Butyrate: A Double-Edged Sword for Health?

AbstractButyrate, a four-carbon short-chain fatty acid, is produced through microbial fermentation of dietary fibers in the lower intestinal tract. Endogenous butyrate production, delivery, and absorption by colonocytes have been well documented. Butyrate exerts its functions by acting as a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor or signaling through several G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs). Recently, butyrate has received particular attention for its beneficial effects on intestinal homeostasis and energy metabolism. With anti-inflammatory properties, butyrate enhances intestinal barrier function and mucosal immunity. However, the role of butyrate in obesity remains controversial. Growing evidence has highlighted the impact of butyrate on the gut-brain axis. In this review, we summarize the present knowledge on the properties of butyrate, especially its potential effects and mechanisms involved in intestinal health and obesity.

Practical Dietary Recommendations for the Prevention and Management of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Adults

AbstractNonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease worldwide. In the absence of effective pharmacotherapies, clinical guidelines focus primarily on weight loss to treat this condition. Established consensus, evidence-based, and clinical dietary recommendations for NAFLD are currently lacking. The aim of this paper is to provide evidence-based practical dietary recommendations for the prevention and management of NAFLD in adults. A literature review focusing on established principles for the development of clinical practice recommendations was employed using the following criteria: based on substantial evidence, ensures risk minimization, is flexible for an individual patient approach, and is open to further modification as evidence emerges. The Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition classification system was used to grade these principles. Five key dietary recommendations were developed: 1) follow traditional dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet; 2) limit excess fructose consumption and avoid processed foods and beverages with added fructose; 3) PUFAs, especially long-chain omega-3 rich foods and MUFAs, should replace SFAs in the diet; 4) replace processed food, fast food, commercial bakery goods, and sweets with unprocessed foods high in fiber, including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds; and 5) avoid excess alcohol consumption. Improving diet quality may reduce the incidence and progression of NAFLD and associated risk factors. Many of the benefits are likely to result from the collective effect of dietary patterns. High-quality research—in particular, randomized clinical trials assessing dietary interventions that focus on liver-specific endpoints—are needed as a priority.

The Problem of Curcumin and Its Bioavailability: Could Its Gastrointestinal Influence Contribute to Its Overall Health-Enhancing Effects?

AbstractCurcumin, from the spice turmeric, exhibits anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, and neurotrophic activity and therefore holds promise as a therapeutic agent to prevent and treat several disorders. However, a major barrier to curcumin's clinical efficacy is its poor bioavailability. Efforts have therefore been dedicated to developing curcumin formulations with greater bioavailability and systemic tissue distribution. However, it is proposed in this review that curcumin's potential as a therapeutic agent may not solely rely on its bioavailability, but rather its medicinal benefits may also arise from its positive influence on gastrointestinal health and function. In this review, in vitro, animal, and human studies investigating the effects of curcumin on intestinal microbiota, intestinal permeability, gut inflammation and oxidative stress, anaphylactic response, and bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections are summarized. It is argued that positive changes in these areas can have wide-ranging influences on both intestinal and extraintestinal diseases, and therefore presents as a possible mechanism behind curcumin's therapeutic efficacy.

Dietary Supplements with Antiplatelet Activity: A Solution for Everyone?

AbstractDietary supplements can have beneficial effects on a number of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, and interest in the use of nonpharmacologic nutraceutical-based treatments for cardiovascular disorders is growing. The aim of this review is to present the role of dietary supplements with antiplatelet activity in the prophylaxis and treatment of cardiovascular disorders. In addition, this paper describes their effects on another very important element of hemostasis—blood coagulation. However, because controlled human clinical experiments are too limited to clearly identify the antiplatelet and anticoagulant properties of dietary supplements, used alone or in combination with classical antiplatelet therapy (e.g., with aspirin), most information in this article is based on in vitro studies. Therefore, it cannot be unequivocally stated whether dietary supplements are universally safe and bring benefits to all. Some authors suggest that blood platelet count and function should be monitored in patients taking such supplements, especially before and after surgery, as well as other hemostasis parameters such as coagulation times.

With Appreciation

We thank the following individuals for taking the time necessary to evaluate original manuscripts. Anonymous, conscientious, fair, and timely peer review is the lifeblood of the journal. –The Editors

Vitamin D Status and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies

AbstractAn association between vitamin D and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been proposed by several researchers in recent years; however, the investigations have led to inconsistent results. The present study was conducted to summarize the published observational data on the relation between vitamin D status and the likelihood of ADHD. Online databases, including PubMed, the ISI Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Scopus, were checked up to June 2017 for relevant observational studies. A random-effects model was incorporated to summarize the study results. Out of 2770 retrieved articles, 13 observational studies (9 case-control or cross-sectional studies and 4 prospective studies) were eligible for inclusion in the systematic review and meta-analysis. Analysis of the 10,334 children and adolescents who attended the 9 case-control or cross-sectional studies revealed that children with ADHD have lower serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D than do healthy children (weighted mean difference: −6.75 ng/mL; 95% CI: −9.73, −3.77 ng/mL; I2 = 94.9%]. Five case-control studies reported the OR for developing ADHD based on vitamin D status; the meta-analysis of their data revealed that lower vitamin D status is significantly associated with the likelihood of ADHD (OR: 2.57; 95% CI: 1.09, 6.04; I2 = 84.3%). Furthermore, the meta-analysis of prospective studies conducted in 4137 participants indicated that perinatal suboptimal vitamin D concentrations are significantly associated with a higher risk of ADHD in later life (RR: 1.40; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.81; I2 = 0.0%). It should be noted that the association found in prospective studies was sensitive to one of the included investigations. The present review provides evidence supporting the relation between vitamin D deficiency and ADHD. However, the overall effect sizes are small, and therefore the association should be considered equivocal at this time. Further prospective cohort studies and community-based intervention trials are highly recommended to better elucidate the causal association.

Food Groups and Risk of Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies

The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to summarize the evidence on the relation of the intakes of 12 major food groups, including whole grains, refined grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, eggs, dairy, fish, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) with the risk of hypertension. PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched systematically until June 2017 for prospective studies having quantitatively investigated the above-mentioned foods. We conducted meta-analysis on the highest compared with the lowest intake categories and linear and nonlinear dose-response meta-analyses to analyze the association. Summary RRs and 95% CIs were estimated by using a random-effects model. Overall, 28 reports were included in the meta-analysis. An inverse association for the risk of hypertension was observed for 30 g whole grains/d (RR: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.87, 0.98), 100 g fruits/d (RR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.96, 0.99), 28 g nuts/d (RR: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.45, 1.08), and 200 g dairy/d (RR: 0.95; 95% CI: 0.94, 0.97), whereas a positive association for 100 g red meat/d (RR: 1.14; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.28), 50 g processed meat/d (RR: 1.12; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.26), and 250 mL SSB/d (RR: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.04, 1.10) was seen in the linear dose-response meta-analysis. Indication for nonlinear relations of the intakes of whole grains, fruits, fish, and processed meats with the risk of hypertension was detected. In summary, this comprehensive dose-response meta-analysis of 28 reports identified optimal intakes of whole grains, fruits, nuts, legumes, dairy, red and processed meats, and SSBs related to the risk of hypertension. These findings need to be seen under the light of very-low to low quality of meta-evidence. However, the findings support the current dietary guidelines in the prevention of hypertension.

Nutritional Factors Affecting Adult Neurogenesis and Cognitive Function

Adult neurogenesis, a complex process by which stem cells in the hippocampal brain region differentiate and proliferate into new neurons and other resident brain cells, is known to be affected by many intrinsic and extrinsic factors, including diet. Neurogenesis plays a critical role in neural plasticity, brain homeostasis, and maintenance in the central nervous system and is a crucial factor in preserving the cognitive function and repair of damaged brain cells affected by aging and brain disorders. Intrinsic factors such as aging, neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, and brain injury, as well as lifestyle factors such as high-fat and high-sugar diets and alcohol and opioid addiction, negatively affect adult neurogenesis. Conversely, many dietary components such as curcumin, resveratrol, blueberry polyphenols, sulforaphane, salvionic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and diets enriched with polyphenols and PUFAs, as well as caloric restriction, physical exercise, and learning, have been shown to induce neurogenesis in adult brains. Although many of the underlying mechanisms by which nutrients and dietary factors affect adult neurogenesis have yet to be determined, nutritional approaches provide promising prospects to stimulate adult neurogenesis and combat neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline. In this review, we summarize the evidence supporting the role of nutritional factors in modifying adult neurogenesis and their potential to preserve cognitive function during aging.

Yogurt and Cardiometabolic Diseases: A Critical Review of Potential Mechanisms

Associations between yogurt intake and risk of diet-related cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs) have been the subject of recent research in epidemiologic nutrition. A healthy dietary pattern has been identified as a pillar for the prevention of weight gain and CMDs. Epidemiologic studies suggest that yogurt consumption is linked to healthy dietary patterns, lifestyles, and reduced risk of CMDs, particularly type 2 diabetes. However, to our knowledge, few to no randomized controlled trials have investigated yogurt intake in relation to cardiometabolic clinical outcomes. Furthermore, there has been little attempt to clarify the mechanisms that underlie the potential beneficial effects of yogurt consumption on CMDs. Yogurt is a nutrient-dense dairy food and has been suggested to reduce weight gain and prevent CMDs by contributing to intakes of protein, calcium, bioactive lipids, and several other micronutrients. In addition, fermentation with bacterial strains generates bioactive peptides, resulting in a potentially greater beneficial effect of yogurt on metabolic health than nonfermented dairy products such as milk. To date, there is little concrete evidence that the mechanisms proposed in observational studies to explain positive results of yogurt on CMDs or parameters are valid. Many proposed mechanisms are based on assumptions that commercial yogurts contain strain-specific probiotics, that viable yogurt cultures are present in adequate quantities, and that yogurt provides a minimum threshold dose of nutrients or bioactive components capable of exerting a physiologic effect. Therefore, the primary objective of this review is to investigate the plausibility of potential mechanisms commonly cited in the literature in order to shed light on the inverse associations reported between yogurt intake and various cardiometabolic health parameters that are related to its nutrient profile, bacterial constituents, and food matrix. This article reviews current gaps and challenges in identifying such mechanisms and provides a perspective on the research agenda to validate the proposed role of yogurt in protecting against CMDs.

The Nitrate-Independent Blood Pressure-Lowering Effect of Beetroot Juice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Beetroot is considered a complementary treatment for hypertension because of its high content of inorganic NO3. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to clarify several aspects of beetroot juice supplementation on systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). We searched PubMed, Scopus, and Embase databases, and the reference lists of previous reviews. Randomized clinical trials that investigated the effects of beetroot juice on resting blood pressure in humans were recruited for quality assessment, meta-analyses, subgroup analyses, and meta-regressions; of these, 22 were conducted between 2009 and 2017 and included a total of 47 intervention (n = 650) and 43 control (n = 598) groups. Overall, SBP (–3.55 mm Hg; 95% CI: –4.55, –2.54 mm Hg) and DBP (–1.32 mm Hg; 95% CI: –1.97, –0.68 mm Hg) were significantly lower in the beetroot juice–supplemented groups than in the control groups. The mean difference of SBP was larger between beetroot juice–supplemented and control groups in the longer than in the shorter (≥14 compared with <14 d) study durations (–5.11 compared with –2.67 mm Hg) and the highest compared with the lowest (500 compared with 70 and 140 mL/d) doses of beetroot juice (–4.78 compared with –2.37 mm Hg). A positive correlation was observed between beetroot juice doses and the mean differences of blood pressures. In contrast, a smaller effect size of blood pressures was observed after supplementation with higher NO3 (milligrams per 100 mL beetroot juice). A weak effect size was observed in a meta-analysis of trials that used NO3-depleted beetroot juice as a placebo compared with other interventions (–3.09 compared with –4.51 mm Hg for SBP and –0.81 compared with –2.01 mm Hg for DBP). Our results demonstrate the blood pressure–lowering effects of beetroot juice and highlight its potential NO3-independent effects.

Cardiovascular and Antiobesity Effects of Resveratrol Mediated through the Gut Microbiota

Encouraging scientific research into the health effects of dietary bioactive resveratrol has been confounded by its rapid first-pass metabolism, which leads to low in vivo bioavailability. Preliminary studies have shown that resveratrol can modulate gut microbiota composition, undergo biotransformation to active metabolites via the intestinal microbiota, or affect gut barrier function. In rodents, resveratrol can modify the relative Bacteroidetes:Firmicutes ratio and reverse the gut microbial dysbiosis caused by a high-fat diet. By upregulating the expression of genes involved in maintaining tight junctions between intestinal cells, resveratrol contributes to gut barrier integrity. The composition of the gut microbiome and rapid metabolism of resveratrol determines the production of resveratrol metabolites, which are found at greater concentrations in humans after ingestion than their parent molecule and can have similar biological effects. Resveratrol may affect cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated blood cholesterol or trimethylamine N-oxide concentrations. Modulating the composition of the gut microbiota by resveratrol may affect central energy metabolism and modify concentrations of satiety hormones to produce antiobesity effects. Encouraging research from animal models could be tested in humans.

Natural Forms of Vitamin E as Effective Agents for Cancer Prevention and Therapy

Initial research on vitamin E and cancer has focused on α-tocopherol (αT), but recent clinical studies on cancer-preventive effects of αT supplementation have shown disappointing results, which has led to doubts about the role of vitamin E, including different vitamin E forms, in cancer prevention. However, accumulating mechanistic and preclinical animal studies show that other forms of vitamin E, such as -tocopherol (T), -tocopherol (T), -tocotrienol (TE), and -tocotrienol (TE), have far superior cancer-preventive activities than does αT. These vitamin E forms are much stronger than αT in inhibiting multiple cancer-promoting pathways, including cyclo-oxygenase (COX)– and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX)–catalyzed eicosanoids, and transcription factors such as nuclear transcription factor B (NF-B) and signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 3 (STAT3). These vitamin E forms, but not αT, cause pro-death or antiproliferation effects in cancer cells via modulating various signaling pathways, including sphingolipid metabolism. Unlike αT, these vitamin E forms are quickly metabolized to various carboxychromanols including 13'-carboxychromanols, which have even stronger anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects than some vitamin precursors. Consistent with mechanistic findings, T, T, TE, and TE, but not αT, have been shown to be effective for preventing the progression of various types of cancer in preclinical animal models. This review focuses on cancer-preventive effects and mechanisms of T, T, TE, and TE in cells and preclinical models and discusses current progress in clinical trials. The existing evidence strongly indicates that these lesser-known vitamin E forms are effective agents for cancer prevention or as adjuvants for improving prevention, therapy, and control of cancer.

Role of MicroRNA Regulation in Obesity-Associated Breast Cancer: Nutritional Perspectives

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy diagnosed in women, and the incidence of breast cancer is increasing every year. Obesity has been identified as one of the major risk factors for breast cancer progression. The mechanisms by which obesity contributes to breast cancer development is not yet understood; however, there are a few mechanisms counted as potential producers of breast cancer in obesity, including insulin resistance, chronic inflammation and inflammatory cytokines, adipokines, and sex hormones. Recent emerging evidence suggests that alterations in microRNA (miRNA) expressions are found in several diseases, including breast cancer and obesity; however, miRNA roles in obesity-linked breast cancer are beginning to unravel. miRNAs are thought to be potential noninvasive biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of cancer patients with comorbid conditions of obesity as well as therapeutic targets. Recent studies have evidenced that nutrients and other dietary factors protect against cancer and obesity through modulation of miRNA expressions. Herein, we summarize a comprehensive overview of up-to-date information related to miRNAs and their molecular targets involved in obesity-associated breast cancer. We also address the mechanisms by which dietary factors modulate miRNA expression and its protective roles in obesity-associated breast cancer. It is hoped that this review would provide new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of obesity-associated breast cancer to reduce the burden of breast cancer.

Epigenetic Regulation of Centromere Chromatin Stability by Dietary and Environmental Factors

The centromere is a genomic locus required for the segregation of the chromosomes during cell division. This chromosomal region together with pericentromeres has been found to be susceptible to damage, and thus the perturbation of the centromere could lead to the development of aneuploidic events. Metabolic abnormalities that underlie the generation of cancer include inflammation, oxidative stress, cell cycle deregulation, and numerous others. The micronucleus assay, an early clinical marker of cancer, has been shown to provide a reliable measure of genotoxic damage that may signal cancer initiation. In the current review, we will discuss the events that lead to micronucleus formation and centromeric and pericentromeric chromatin instability, as well transcripts emanating from these regions, which were previously thought to be inactive. Studies were selected in PubMed if they reported the effects of nutritional status (macro- and micronutrients) or environmental toxicant exposure on micronucleus frequency or any other chromosomal abnormality in humans, animals, or cell models. Mounting evidence from epidemiologic, environmental, and nutritional studies provides a novel perspective on the origination of aneuploidic events. Although substantial evidence exists describing the role that nutritional status and environmental toxicants have on the generation of micronuclei and other nuclear aberrations, limited information is available to describe the importance of macro- and micronutrients on centromeric and pericentromeric chromatin stability. Moving forward, studies that specifically address the direct link between nutritional status, excess, or deficiency and the epigenetic regulation of the centromere will provide much needed insight into the nutritional and environmental regulation of this chromosomal region and the initiation of aneuploidy.

Energy Metabolism Profile in Individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Implications for Clinical Management: A Systematic Review

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic disorder associated with excessive weight gain. Hyperphagia associated with PWS may result in higher energy intake, but alterations in energy expenditure may also contribute to energy imbalance. The purpose of this critical literature review is to determine the presence of alterations in energy expenditure in individuals with PWS. Ten studies that measured total energy expenditure (TEE), resting energy expenditure (REE), sleep energy expenditure (SEE), activity energy expenditure (AEE), and diet induced thermogenesis (DIT) were included in this review. The studies provided evidence that absolute TEE, REE, SEE, and AEE are lower in individuals with PWS than in age-, sex-, and body mass index–matched individuals without the syndrome. Alterations in lean body mass and lower physical activity amounts appear to be responsible for the lower energy expenditure in PWS rather than metabolic differences. Regardless of the underlying mechanism for lower TEE, the estimation of energy requirements with the use of equations derived for the general population would result in weight gain in individuals with PWS. The determination of energy requirements for weight management in individuals with PWS requires a more comprehensive understanding of energy metabolism. Future studies should aim to comprehensively profile all specific components of energy expenditure in individuals with PWS with the use of appropriately matched controls and gold standard methods to measure energy metabolism and body composition. One component of energy expenditure that is yet to be explored in detail in PWS is DIT. A reduced DIT (despite differences in fat free mass), secondary to hormonal dysregulation, may be present in PWS individuals, leading to a reduced overall energy expenditure. Further research exploring DIT in PWS needs to be conducted. Dietary energy recommendations for weight management in PWS have not yet been clearly established.

Scaling up Dietary Data for Decision-Making in Low-Income Countries: New Technological Frontiers

Dietary surveys in low-income countries (LICs) are hindered by low investment in the necessary research infrastructure, including a lack of basic technology for data collection, links to food composition information, and data processing. The result has been a dearth of dietary data in many LICs because of the high cost and time burden associated with dietary surveys, which are typically carried out by interviewers using pencil and paper. This study reviewed innovative dietary assessment technologies and gauged their suitability to improve the quality and time required to collect dietary data in LICs. Predefined search terms were used to identify technologies from peer-reviewed and gray literature. A total of 78 technologies were identified and grouped into 6 categories: 1) computer- and tablet-based, 2) mobile-based, 3) camera-enabled, 4) scale-based, 5) wearable, and 6) handheld spectrometers. For each technology, information was extracted on a number of overarching factors, including the primary purpose, mode of administration, and data processing capabilities. Each technology was then assessed against predetermined criteria, including requirements for respondent literacy, battery life, requirements for connectivity, ability to measure macro- and micronutrients, and overall appropriateness for use in LICs. Few technologies reviewed met all the criteria, exhibiting both practical constraints and a lack of demonstrated feasibility for use in LICs, particularly for large-scale, population-based surveys. To increase collection of dietary data in LICs, development of a contextually adaptable, interviewer-administered dietary assessment platform is recommended. Additional investments in the research infrastructure are equally important to ensure time and cost savings for the user.

Dietary Strategies to Reduce Environmental Impact: A Critical Review of the Evidence Base

The food system is a major source of environmental impact, and dietary change has been recommended as an important and necessary strategy to reduce this impact. However, assessing the environmental performance of diets is complex due to the many types of foods eaten and the diversity of agricultural production systems and local environmental settings. To assess the state of science and identify knowledge gaps, an integrative review of the broad topic of environment and diet was undertaken, with particular focus on the completeness of coverage of environmental concerns and the metrics used. Compared with the 14 discrete environmental areas of concern identified in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the located journal literature mainly addressed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and, to a lesser extent, land and water use. Some relevant concerns were rarely addressed or not addressed at all. In the case of GHG emissions, changes in land use and soil carbon stocks were seldom considered. This represents a disconnect between the science informing strategic climate action in the agricultural sector and the science informing public health nutrition. In the case of land and water use, few studies used metrics that are appropriate in a life-cycle context. Some metrics produce inherently biased results, which misinform about environmental impact. The limited evidence generally points to recommended diets having lower environmental impacts than typical diets, although not in every case. This is largely explained by the overconsumption of food energy associated with average diets, which is also a major driver of obesity. A shared-knowledge framework is identified as being needed to guide future research on this topic. Until the evidence base becomes more complete, commentators on sustainable diets should not be quick to assume that a dietary strategy to reduce overall environmental impact can be readily defined or recommended.

25-Hydroxyvitamin D as a Biomarker of Vitamin D Status and Its Modeling to Inform Strategies for Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency within the Population

There is substantial evidence that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is unacceptably high in the population, and this requires action from a public health perspective. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is a robust and reliable marker of vitamin D status and has been used by numerous agencies in the establishment of vitamin D dietary requirements and for population surveillance of vitamin D deficiency or inadequacy. In a wider context, modeling of serum 25(OH)D data and its contributory sources, namely dietary vitamin D supply and UVB availability, can inform our understanding of population vitamin D status. The aim of this review is to provide the current status of knowledge in relation to modeling of such vitamin D–relevant data. We begin by highlighting the importance of the measurement of 25(OH)D and its standardization, both of which have led to new key data on the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and inadequacy in North America and Europe. We then overview how state-of-the-art modeling can be used to inform our understanding of the potential effect of ergocalciferol and 25(OH)D on vitamin D intake estimates and how meteorological data on UVB availability, when coupled with other key data, can help predict population serum 25(OH)D concentration, even accounting for seasonal fluctuations, and lastly, how these in silico approaches can help inform policymakers on strategic options on addressing low vitamin D status through food-based approaches and supplementation. The potential of exemplar food-based solutions will be highlighted, as will the possibility of synergies between vitamin D and other dairy food–based micronutrients, in relation to vitamin D status and bone health. Lastly, we will briefly consider the interactions between season and vitamin D supplements on vitamin D status and health.