An internationally recognized expert in toxicology and risk analysis, Dr Rodricks is also an expert in nutrition science, a professional endeavor backed by years as a scientist for the US Food and Drug Administration and dozens of committee appointments for the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Dr Rodricks traveled to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the annual meeting of the Korean Nutrition Society, 19–20 October to deliver “The Canadian/USA Road to Dietary Reference Values That Reduce Risks of Chronic Diseases.” The talk is based on work he has been doing on NAS panels over the last five years revolving around Dietary Reference Intakes, or DRIs. DRIs were developed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies to provide the scientific basis for the development of good nutrition and food guidelines in both the US and Canada. South Korea, like most countries, is in the process of developing its own DRIs.
Dr Rodricks’ NAS committee work has focused largely on studying the relationship between the excessive intake of nutrients, such as sodium and potassium, and chronic diseases (eg diabetes, cardiovascular disease). For example, it’s been established in the scientific community that excessive amounts of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which can lead to hypertension and eventually cardiovascular disease. Defining that relationship, however, is a huge scientific undertaking, as it requires years of long-term studies and clinical trials that result in large amounts data. He has contributed to guidance published in 2017 that details the complex methodologies needed to translate such data into DRIs.
“You have to know how to handle all the data you collect and how much is enough,” he explains.
Dr Rodricks is currently serving on a committee of the NAS to review sodium and potassium and chronic disease causation, the results of which are set to be released in early 2019.