A core objective of ODIN is to provide new evidence on which regulators can base dietary reference values (DRV) for vitamin D as well as confidently make recommendations in relation to vitamin D dietary guidelines, role of sun exposure in vitamin D skin synthesis, as well as safe levels of vitamin D that can be added to animal feedstuffs and human foods.
Vitamin D status
ODIN will soon deliver the first internationally comparable standardized data on vitamin D status in 11 European countries and will establish for the first time how widespread the problem of vitamin D deficiency is in Europe.
Vitamin D requirements
ODIN is carrying out a series of randomised controlled trials in pregnant women, children, teenagers and adults of South Asian and East African origin resident in Northern European countries that have been specifically designed to provide the evidence on which regulatory authorities can base DRV for vitamin D and/or accurately set dietary guidelines for vitamin D to meet requirements in these groups.
We are partnering with food industry and agri-food producers to develop a range of novel vitamin D-enhanced staple foods to reduce vitamin D deficiency. In addition, new data is being generated from targeted animal and human feeding trials that will provide regulators with the evidence needed to base decisions on maximum allowable safe levels of vitamin D that can be added to animal feed and human foods.
Using new composition data for these vitamin D fortified and bio-fortified foods and dietary survey data from several countries, we are conducting dietary modelling studies in ODIN to investigate the effect of incorporating these foods into the diet and the impact on vitamin D intakes.
UVB Sunlight exposure
In ODIN, we are estimating UVB sunlight availability across Europe throughout the seasons, and using some of that data to model the impact of increased dietary supply of vitamin D (via fortification and bio-fortification, as above) throughout the year with changing UVB availability. The work also includes a controlled human study that will provide the evidence needed to test whether recommendations in relation to public health appropriate levels of sun exposure (e.g., exposure of face, hands and some of the arms to ~15-25 minutes of summer sun exposure at noon) are sufficient to enable adequate synthesis of vitamin D.
These data integrate diet-status-health outcomes, accounting for the effect of UVB availability across the European latitude gradient of 35-70oN, and will provide data to specify vitamin D dietary requirements in neglected population groups, as well as dietary strategies to achieve them.