May 16, 2017

16/05/2017: Assessing the fortification of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the essential micro-nutritional elements for heath and well being in our diet, and yet, its presence is very low in the foods we eat daily

Foods that are rich in natural vitamin D levels include oily fish, such as mackerel or salmon and shiitake mushrooms, but are not as commonly consumed as milk or bread. Recommended daily levels of vitamin D are 10 micrograms (mcg) per day for children and adults, which include women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding. A recent peer reviewed study has led to the question, should we be making vitamin D fortification mandatory for everyone?

Chemically, Vitamin D refers to the fat-soluble secosteriods group that act on increasing absorption in the body of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphates and zinc. The compounds that we as humans need the most are vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) to prevent a number of problems and diseases. Deficiency of vitamin D is well known to cause Rickets, as was seen in Victorian England, however it can also be responsible for Osteromalcia (bone softening and fracture risk), Diabetes and skin pigmentation changes. This last factor is especially prevalent due to the mechanism by which we absorb the highest concentration of vitamin D, Sunlight. 

Research has shown that people with darker skin living in temperate climates have lower vitamin D levels. They are less efficient at synthesizing the necessary compounds because of an increased melanin level, a factor that is not present in Caucasians. However, this does affect Caucasian populations in countries such as Iceland with limited yearly sunlight hours. Around 94 percent of their demographic is of Norse or Celtic descent and a study in 2012 by Illari Paakari, Professor of Medical Science at Helsinki University concluded that, "all the evidence that we have supports the idea that vitamin D concentrations have an inverse relationship to the occurrence of numerous diseases. It is known that breast cancer, intestinal cancer and MS are like this."

Read more HERE.

The Global Miller
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