The Organic & Natural Health Association, with its research partner GrassrootsHealth, continues to educate consumers and practitioners across the country on the 15 vitamins and nutrients Americans are most deficient in, starting with vitamin D and omega-3. The motto for this program is “Know your levels, live life well.” In 2017, the scientific advisory council conveyed the importance of participating in the vitamin D and omega-3 nutrient field trial to more than 50 million Americans at events and in the media.
Using integrated health data systems and analytics, GrassrootsHealth created myData-myAnswers, a system designed to measure nutrient impact and effectiveness for an individual, as well as in relation to the research cohort and the public at large. Both participants and their practitioners have access to this fully integrated health information tool that also provides individualized, research-based, educational information. Vitamin D and Omega-3 Index tests can be done in the convenience of one’s home, and the system allows for measurement of all nutrient sources. For example, vitamin D intake can be measured if a consumer is taking nutrients, relying on exposure to the sun, using devices or drugs.
The ability to monitor health status in relation to nutrient consumption is valuable. Equally powerful is the ability to utilize this information to transform health care delivery. Consider Grassroots’ first-of-its-kind study for pregnant women. The study was designed to help pregnant women achieve a vitamin D blood serum level of at least 40 ng/ml, the threshold for benefit in previous randomized trials. One-thousand pregnant women receiving care at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) participated in the study. The study found pregnant women who achieved a serum level at or higher than 40 ng/ml had a 60 percent lower preterm birth rate as compared to those whose levels were 20 ng/ml. In 2007, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported the total cost associated with premature birth was US$26.2 billion per year in the United States. Insurance companies are taking note, and MUSC changed its standard of care for its pregnant employees. Change the standard of care, and change the health care status of an entire generation.
GrassrootsHealth will soon publish a paper about breast cancer showing close to an 80 percent reduction in breast cancer risk when women 55 and older have vitamin D levels greater than or equal to 60 ng/ml (150 nmol/L) as compared to women with vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L). This personalized approach to reduce preterm births and breast cancer rates through sound observational studies may be the most effective way to assert the value of nutritional health through supplementation to prevent disease.
Learn more about GrassrootsHealth’s initiative and other important aspects of personalized nutrition in INSIDER’s Personalized Nutrition Digital Magazine.
Karen Howard, CEO and executive director of Organic & Natural Health Association, is a visionary and results-focused leader who has spent more than 30 years working with Congress, state legislatures and health care organizations to develop innovative health care policy and programs. She has held a variety of executive positions, including serving as professional staff for a congressional committee, and has policy expertise in the diverse areas of integrative and complementary medicine, managed care, health care technology and mental health. An advocate at heart, she has worked to strategically advance the mission and vision of organizations through effective advocacy and strong collaboration.