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New Research About Vitamin D Reinforces Drinking More Milk

PORTLAND, Maine (November 13, 2008)–– Everyone has always been told there were good reasons to drink milk, but never before has so much emphasis been put on the benefits of the calcium and Vitamin D it contains.  Recently, separate actions by the FDA and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have reinforced what is now known about the positive effects of Vitamin D and calcium.  Studies indicate that many people are not getting enough of these important nutrients, which can then cause deficiencies leading to potentially serious health concerns.

The FDA recently approved a new health claim that links the importance of Vitamin D and calcium to a reduced risk of osteoporosis. It was ruled that products offering 20% or more of the recommended Daily Value (also defined at excellent sources) of calcium and Vitamin D per standard serving would be allowed to highlight the new claim on their packaging. The new claim specifically states, “Physical activity and adequate calcium and Vitamin D throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis,” or “may build and maintain good bone health.”  By publicizing the claims, more attention will be brought to the importance of Vitamin D and calcium and their effect on bone health.  It also positions milk and dairy products as excellent sources of key nutrients for bone health.

Additionally, based on a new clinical report, the AAP has increased the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D, beginning as early as the first few days of life as opposed to the first few months as previously recommended.  The revised guidelines are the result of new clinical trials showing the effectiveness of Vitamin D in providing additional health benefits that go far beyond bone health. 

One way the AAP recommends that children of 1 year and older get their recommended Vitamin D is by drinking Vitamin D fortified milk.  The National Dairy Council agrees that milk is an ideal way for children to get their Vitamin D.  Children and adolescents are encouraged to drink at least three servings of Vitamin D fortified milk daily, which contains nutrients for bone health as well as helping to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses and promoting overall good health.

“These new findings reinforce what other researchers and I have been learning about the importance of Vitamin D and other nutrients found in dairy products. It’s exciting to see this information provided to consumers so they can reap the benefits,” said Oakhurst Dairy Dietitian, Pamela Stuppy, MS, RD, LD. “Drinking milk is an easy way to get the Vitamin D, calcium and other nutrients necessary each day.  Oakhurst milk is a great option because it’s made locally without the use of any artificial growth hormones, and there are a multitude of choices so everyone can find one they like.”

The full line of Oakhurst milk includes whole, lowfat, skim and lowfat flavored milks all fortified with Vitamin D.  Oakhurst makes it easy for New Englanders to make healthy choices for increasing their Vitamin D and calcium intake.

Stuppy also reminds us that the best natural source of Vitamin D is sun exposure.  Unfortunately, our exposure to the “Sunshine Vitamin” has been greatly reduced in recent years due to less time being spent outdoors and the increased use of sunscreen.  In addition here in New England, from October to April, there is not sufficient sunlight for us to produce Vitamin D in our skin. Stuppy says that all of these factors make it is especially important to increase the amount of Vitamin D intake from food sources, such as milk.

“Oakhurst products offer a satisfying and convenient way for people to get many of the nutrients they need throughout the entire year,” agreed Stuppy.  “Reducing the risk of osteoporosis and maintaining overall good health should be a priority.”

Oakhurst is Northern New England’s largest independent dairy company, with three generations of commitment to the health and wellbeing of the community and the environment. For 87 years, the Bennett family has stood behind every glass of Oakhurst milk. The company contributes 10% of annual profits to organizations that promote healthy kids and a healthy environment –– another good reason to choose the Natural Goodness of Maine. For more information visit www.oakhurstdairy.com. 

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