Applications Of Globally Harmonized Nutrients

Research Project:

Applications Of Globally Harmonized Nutrients

Brief Summary: This project will introduce published algorithms for nutrient bioavailability, develop new algorithms starting with calcium, then integrate them into nutrient labeling globally, develop a consensus on standardized nutrients’ equivalencies and units for food labeling (e.g., for Fe, Zn, Ca. vitamin E), and work with the ILSI federation to determine the needs of other regions around the world. Presented by Connie Weaver.

Rationale and Approach: This project aims to facilitate regional adaptations of harmonized nutrients requirements. As such, globally harmonized nutrient recommendations (or H-AR) can be used in formulation and labelling the bioavailable nutrient content per serving, to assess and plan intakes of population groups globally, to provide a common basis for comparing the nutrient intake of populations, and to develop national and regional strategies for improving nutrient deficiencies starting with calcium (1-3). Calcium deficiency is prevalent worldwide (4). A calcium task force convened by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation recently published population-wide strategies using food-based interventions to improve low calcium intake (5). The proposed project will serve as the foundation for assessing diets and strategies for improving calcium nutrition.


  1. Develop algorithm to predict calcium absorption, to improve prediction of calcium absorption based on bioavailability
  2. Apply algorithm to the nutrient balance sheets (NBS) and determine country-adjusted requirements and adequacy ratios, to estimate the prevalence of inadequate calcium intake for each country using bioavailability-adjusted requirements
  3. Examine the potential for calcium fortification of wheat flour, to determine whether calcium requirements can be met using national calcium fortification programs
  4. Apply algorithm to one country-specific database (Nigeria), to generate bioavailability-adjusted national calcium requirements, to estimate the prevalence of inadequate calcium intake, and to estimate the impact of a calcium fortification program using maize nixtamalization
  5. Apply algorithm to one country-specific database (Bangladesh), similar to phase 4, but estimating the impact of a calcium fortification program through addition of calcium to rice during parboiling

Deliverables: publications and presentations at ICN-2022 and ASN-2023; evidence-based advances on the estimated impact calcium fortification programs may have.


  1. Allen, L.H., et al. (2022) Considerations for implementing globally harmonized nutrient reference values: Summary of a meeting. Advances in Nutrition (in Review).
  2. Allen, L.H., et al. (2020) Perspective: proposed harmonized nutrient reference values for populations. Advances in Nutrition 11: 469-483.
  3. Yaktine, A.L., et al. (2020) Why the derivation of nutrient reference values should be harmonized and how it can be accomplished. Advances in Nutrition 11: 1102-1107.
  4. Shlisky, J., et al. (2022) Calcium deficiency worldwide: prevalence of inadequate intakes and associated health outcomes. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (in Press).
  5. Bourassa, M.W., et al. (2022) Interventions to improve calcium intake through foods in populations with low intake. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (in Press).

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