Nutrient Field Trials
One of the ways O&N is advancing research to redefine the delivery of health care towards a preventative health and wellness-oriented model is through nutrient field trials.
It’s a fact that you can’t get all the nutrients you need from food. Therefore, quality dietary supplements play an essential role in achieving optimal health and preventing disease as we journey to improve and restore the nutrient profile of food. At the same time, the supplement and natural products industry continues to battle media reports misrepresenting dietary supplements as being unregulated, ineffective and even dangerous.
In response, O&N developed the Nutrient Power™ initiative which marries a consumer education campaign with sponsorship and promotion of nutrient field trials. These scientific studies, published in peer-reviewed literature, serve as documentation to support truthful and non-misleading health claims. Over time, we are building a unique body of research that supports consumer decision-making about their everyday and long-term health while paving a sound and reliable pathway to public policy rooted in prevention and wellness versus today’s disease-driven healthcare system.
What Are Nutrient Field Trials?
GrassrootsHealth’s nutrient field trials are high-powered observational studies carefully and rigorously designed, conducted and evaluated to demonstrate correlations between nutrients and health outcomes while taking into consideration the multiple actions and interactions of nutrients. The trials involve large numbers of subjects in order to provide high statistical significance with the outcomes and move the research into practice quickly and with a high level of confidence.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are valuable and important. However, many RCTs involving nutrients are designed like drug trials, attempting to focus on one nutrient and looking at a single interaction. Nutrients, however, don’t act alone. They act in combination with other nutrients and have synergistic effects. While both RCTs and observational studies offer valuable contributions to the body of knowledge on nutrition, observational studies are the backbone of nutritional research.
Demonstrating the Power of Nutrients
O&N is demonstrating the power of nutrients and helping to move science into practice through nutrient field trials being conducted by our nonprofit research partner, GrassrootsHealth. With a panel of 48 senior vitamin D researchers from around the world contributing to its operations, GrassrootsHealth is pioneering nutrient research through sophisticated field trials based on its successful international D*action project aimed at solving the vitamin D deficiency epidemic worldwide.
O&N-supported population-based nutrient field trials include:
Vitamin D: In 2016, in tandem with O&N’s Power of D consumer education campaign that promoted the necessity of knowing one’s vitamin D levels and encouraged consumers to order self-test kits and enroll in the D*action project, O&N helped sponsor and build GrassrootsHealth’s substantial body of vitamin D research which has enrolled over 12,000 participants worldwide to date. Study participants could opt to order a one-time vitamin D self-test kit or join a five-year study.
GrassrootsHealth has published multiple studies on the impact of vitamin D levels in pregnancy and childhood and on disease prevention and a host of health conditions including pain, chronic inflammation, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer risk. Following GrassrootsHealth’s joint study with the Medical University of South Carolina, which found that women with certain vitamin D levels had an overall 46% lower risk of preterm birth, and based on prior supplementation trials, MUSC changed its standard of care for prenatal patients.
Omega-3 Index & Vitamin D: In 2017, O&N is funding nutrient field research on omega-3 fatty acids. The study was designed in partnership with O&N members Aker BioMarine and Natural Partners, and is being conducted by GrassrootsHealth. Participants will self-test their levels of omega-3 EPA and DHA as well as vitamin D with kits made available through O&N’s Nutrient Power consumer education site, nutrientpower.org, and GrassrootsHealth. In addition to enrolling consumers directly, for this study we are growing the number of participants by enrolling practitioners and their patients in partnership with Natural Partners’ online patient dispensary, NP Script.
What’s next? Magnesium, K2, iodine, calcium, and iron to name a few of the most common and most impactful nutrient deficiencies.
O&N will continue to fund nutrient field trials and run consecutive consumer education campaigns as part of our Nutrient Power initiative with a new nutrient focus approximately every year.