Micronutrient Fortification of Food: Issues for Asia

Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. 2015;61(Suppl):S183-S185. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.61.S183

More than 2 billion individuals globally suffer some degree of deficiency of one or more micronutrients, with the largest numbers in Africa and Asia. Fortification of foods with vitamins and minerals is a proven public health intervention. In Asia, salt iodization, fortified flour and condiments such as fish sauce and soy sauce are reaching hundreds of millions. However, many individuals still do not have adequate intakes of numerous micronutrients, and better fortification strategies and practices will help to alleviate these deficiencies. The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) has supported research and scientific dialog about technical and health issues related to micronutrients. Recent studies have indicated widespread vitamin D deficiency among children in SE Asia, and in India. A new trial shows the efficacy of vitamin D-fortified milk in addressing deficiencies, which may have applicability in school feeding programs in India and other parts of Asia. Infant nutrition is also critical, and complementary foods can play an important role after exclusive breastfeeding in providing critical nutrients. A formulation developed in China, Ying Yang Bao, has shown significant reduction of anemia and improved growth in infants. Fortification in Asia has the potential to greatly reduce micronutrient deficiencies and improve health, but more structured efforts are needed to achieve these goals.

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