Alaskan Bill Would Mandate Vitamin D Tests

Sandy Almendarez, VP of Content

March 5, 2013

3 Min Read
Alaskan Bill Would Mandate Vitamin D Tests

Those in the natural products industry know the importance of vitamin D, and consumers have been on the bandwagon for a few years now. Doctors are starting to recommend it, and now, even regulators in England are promoting vitamin D supplementation.

Here at home in the United States, Alaskan state legislator Paul Seaton (R-Homer)  is sponsoring House Bill 90, the vitamin D newborn testing proposal, which would mandate newborns be tested for vitamin D deficiencies for one year. Parents could opt out if they desired.

Seaton said he expects about 10,000 of the 11,000 babies born in the state each year would be tested. The test would be preformed at birth while the child is tested for other genetic problems. This way, parents wouldn't have to bring their children in solely for the vitamin D test.

The need comes from the high latitude of Alaska, where people are less likely to be exposed to the sun, reducing the body's ability to produce vitamin D on its own. The children would be followed over time, according to an article in the Anchorage Daily News, and the results would be reported on by region.

Seaton has also worked out a deal with a public health organization so the state could get the tests at a cheaper rate than if the government did the tests itself.

The bill had its first hearing in late February 2013, and the Anchorage Daily News article said the state Health and Social Services Committee was receptive. However, Chairman Pete Higgins (R-Fairbanks) questioned if the study was necessary, and Dr. Ward Hurlburt, the state's chief medical officer, said vitamin D has only been proven to prevent osteoporosis and rickets.

Still, recent studies have shown vitamin D's benefits to brain health, breast health and mood

Seaton has previously shown his support for vitamin D by sponsoring a resolution in 2011 that mandated the Alaskan Department of Health and Social Services to promote vitamin D and investigate its health benefits. The resolution passed, and the state produced a public service announcement and issued free vitamin D tests to state employees. Seaton also keeps bottles of vitamin D in his office and passes them out to fellow legislators, according to the article.

The Anchorage Daily News article noted that testing alone doesn't require people to take vitamin D, and the state couldn't legally require those who are deficient to supplement. But Seaton said education may persuade people to take vitamin D and increase their health.

While Seaton may not be the replacement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) industry is looking for, it's always good to see legislators who are fighting the good fight for supplements. Especially in places like Alaska where vitamin D levels are suspected to be lower than the rest of the country. If I were on the Alaskan Health and Social Services Committee, I'd vote yes on House Bill 90.

About the Author(s)

Sandy Almendarez

VP of Content, Informa

Summary

• Well-known subject matter expert within the health & nutrition industry with more than 15 years’ experience reporting on natural products.

• She cares a lot about how healthy products are made, where their ingredients are sourced and how they affect human health.

• She knows that it’s the people behind the businesses — their motivations, feelings and emotions — drive industry growth, so that’s where she looks for content opportunities.

Sandy Almendarez is VP of Content for SupplySide and an award-winning journalist. She oversees the editorial and content marketing teams for the B2B media brands Natural Products Insider and Food and Beverage Insider, the education programming for the health and nutrition trade shows SupplySide East and SupplySide West, and community engagement across the SupplySide portfolio. She is a seasoned content strategist with a passion for health, good nutrition, sustainability and inclusion. With over 15 years of experience in the health and nutrition industry, Sandy brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as a content-focused business leader. With specialization in topics ranging from product development to content engagement, creative marketing and c-suite decision making, her work is known for its engaging style and its relevance for business leaders in the health and nutrition industry.

In her free time, Sandy loves running, drinking hot tea and watching her two kids grow up. She brews her own “Sandbucha” homemade kombucha; she’s happy to share if you’re ever in Phoenix!

Awards:

Speaker credentials

Resides in

  • Phoenix, AZ

Education

  • Arizona State University

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