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Member spotlight: Dr. Susan Whiting on nutrition, health disparities, and bone health

Posted on: February 27, 2014   by  Vitamin D Council

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Each month we publish a blog highlighting a member, putting them in the spotlight. We discuss their background and why they’re interested in vitamin D. To see all member spotlight articles, click here.

This month we’re featuring member Dr. Susan Whiting. Dr. Whiting is a Professor of Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Dr. Whiting has been a professor at the University of Saskatchewan for 25 years now. Her research has mainly focused on diet, bone health, and the health disparities brought about by food insecurity in both Canada and Africa.

Her interest in vitamin D began in early 2000 when she saw that research was showing that sun exposure produced much more vitamin D than the 200 IU/day recommended in Canada at the time. In 2002 she worked on a review paper which summarized studies showing low vitamin D status in Canadians and Americans.

Susan croppedVitamin D is a big part of Dr. Whiting’s work and life. Being a professor and resident in Canada, Dr. Whiting sees firsthand the effects of vitamin D deficiency in which six months out of the year, vitamin D production isn’t available from sun exposure. She continually advocates for vitamin D, whether through workshops and symposia, or to individuals and her own students.

Dr. Whiting now has students from places in Africa and Saudi Arabia who have interest in studying vitamin D in their own countries and cultures. She also has given talks on the effects of vitamin D deficiency in countries around the world.

In her own backyard, Dr. Whiting has influenced vitamin D use in long-term care and for infants. She has also been involved in large organizations such as Osteoporosis Canada. She has been actively involved in advocating for higher dose recommendations and food fortification on a national level. In 2011, she published a paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in which she pointed out to Health Canada that good vitamin D status of Canadians was being achieved mostly by supplements in 30% of the population.

Dr. Whiting has been a member of the Vitamin D Council since memberships were first offered. She recently became a lifetime member as she believes that there are many more years of vitamin D research ahead of us. She finds the Vitamin D Council a valuable source of vitamin D research as she loves having access to the latest research, and opinions about them.

“I am hopeful more of the cellular mechanisms will be revealed, as knowing there is biologic plausibility for vitamin D-health benefits is the best evidence for promoting optimal vitamin D status,” Dr. Whiting stated. “I am also hopeful that we will come to a better understanding of what constitutes good nutrition research, so that poorly-done RCTs will no longer clog up meta-analyses with their false negative findings.”

We want to thank Dr. Susan Whiting for participating in our member spotlight blog series, her work in public health, her contribution to vitamin D research, and for spreading awareness of vitamin D in her community.

6 Responses to Member spotlight: Dr. Susan Whiting on nutrition, health disparities, and bone health

  1. jkwray1@cox.net

    I’m not sure where to post this but, I’d like to see more on “winter back ache”. Several years ago a close family member was telling us that he had really bad backaches and was going in for surgery. I tried to talk him into taking 5000 units of vitamin D but he went in and had the surgery. At our next Christmas party he was saying the surgery had not alleviated the pain but his friend had told him to try taking vitamin D. He did and was pain free.
    Last Sunday a close friend in Tucson was having a “winter backache”. I told him “winter backache” indicated low vitamin D levels. He thought his supplement had D in it. I told him he needed to take around 5000 iu. He checked his supplement and went Sunday night and bought a separate supplement of D and texted me on Wednesday that all back pain was gone. Gotta have my Vitamin D. Are there no studies to prove my theory?

  2. hlahore@gmail.com

    I originally got interested in Vitamin D via back pain reduction.
    A friend told me of a study which found that when giving vitamin D to people with back pain that 95% of them experienced great or complete reduction. That study and many others are at http://vitamindwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page_id=3874

  3. hlahore@gmail.com

    By the way: reduction in back pain is 3rd of 40 proofs (as of Feb 2014) that vitamin D intervention prevents or treats health problems. http://vitamindwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page_id=1336

  4. hlahore@gmail.com

    There are 290 items on VitaminDWiki which mention Susan Whiting
    http://is.gd/whiting

  5. Rita and Misty

    Thank you, Dr. Whiting, for all your efforts regarding vitamin D. I often think about if there would be any benefit to having a talk between vitamin D physicians and researchers, and those physicians and researchers less knowledgeable about D. Might make for a lively debate. But then, I always favor open dialogue….It’s an idiosyncrasy of mine.

  6. sjs@fiberwater.com

    Hi Everyone
    Dr. Whiting it was indeed a pleasure to read about you and looking forward to connecting with whoever would like to communicate with me. My name is Suzanne Jaffe Stillman and I am a beverage inventor with 42 domestic and international patents… 2 in Canada
    I am a huge advocate for vitamin D as I am for fiber. It all started 43 years ago when my son Jason was born with glycogen storage disease 1A and was not supposed to live. Www. Fiberwater.com/history. No one talked about the importance of vitamin D back then and to think how much time we spent in and out of the hospital. That is when I went into nutrition.
    Using my intellectual properties I have just designed drinks for little children first. My drinks will come initially in powdered form to go into water diabetic friendly, nothing artificial, GMO free and excellent source of fiber (5 grams of 5 different soluble fibers) natural flavor and color and 400 units of vitamin D. I am wondering if I should use more vitamin D per serving, Or is it better to suggest two drinks a day and what are your thoughts on how much vitamin D to give children and at what ages beginning at 1 year.
    If you would like to reach me directly my email is S JS@fiberwater.com And my phone number in Los Angeles is 310-979-7101 PST
    Very appreciative of information on dosage for children especially outside the US especially in Canada Australia New Zealand China India south Korea Mexico South Africa Japan and Europe including all of Eurasia
    Thank you so much for your time respectfully Suzanne

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