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.
Vitamin 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.