Calcium, Vitamin D, and Bone Health
The Department of Nutrition Science has had a strong presence in calcium nutrition since the late mid 1980s and vitamin D for more than a decade. Our expertise in calcium and vitamin D and relationships to health extend beyond bone to cancer, hypertension, body fat, and diabetes. Topics related to calcium and Vitamin D have been two of the most funded nutrition areas because of their broad relationship to health and the prevalence of deficiencies in the U.S. and around the world.
Contributors in the Department
The breadth and depth of bone health research being conducted in the Department of Nutrition Science is well documented. Critical to nutrition and health research, such as the bone health work, is dissemination of the research results and concepts to targeted public audiences. The Cooperative Extension Service provides a unique national dissemination network for educational programming through Health and Human Sciences and 4-H/Youth Development county-based educators. In addition, social media such as YouTube, Facebook, etc. can be utilized effectively to communicate these messages.
As a significant area of research and engagement in the department, learning activities in vitamin D and calcium have been incorporated into the curriculum. In the undergraduate metabolism course, key issues in vitamin D, calcium and bone health are discussed as well as highlighting recent research results. The core graduate course has approximately one-third of the first semester devoted to metabolism of calcium, minerals, and vitamin D integrated with bone biology. In addition, an upper-level graduate course focused on bone biology is co-taught by IUSM and Purdue faculty. A monthly Bone Club is held on the Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus attended by researchers from IUSM, Purdue, IUPUI, Eli Lilly, and the University of Notre Dame.