Vitamin D Marketing

Vitamin D, known as calciferol, is found in very few foods and is available as a dietary supplement or produced endogenously when ultraviolet (UV) rays strike the skin. It is also added to some milk products and plant-based beverages such as orange juice and meal replacement bars and drinks.

Although studies have examined the relationship between vitamin D and numerous health outcomes, evidence is strongest for bone health.

Deficiency

Deficiencies can occur when usual intakes of vitamin D are lower than recommended levels, exposure to sunlight is limited, or absorption of vitamin D in the digestive tract is reduced. Severe deficiency is associated with a low blood level of 25(OH)D and may result in a variety of signs and symptoms including bone weakness (osteopenia or osteoporosis), gastrointestinal disturbances, hypercalcemia, and renal problems such as hyperparathyroidism, hypercalciuria, and nephrocalcinosis [2].

Most people can achieve sufficient blood levels of vitamin D by regularly consuming fortified foods and getting some sun. However, some groups might need to take dietary supplements to meet their vitamin D requirements. These include people who have limited or no sun exposure, those with milk allergy or lactose intolerance, and those with an ovo-vegetarian diet.

Fortification

Fortification is one of the most cost-effective interventions to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in global populations. It can be used to correct a demonstrated deficiency in the general population (mass fortification) or in targeted groups such as infants, pregnant women and beneficiaries of social protection programs.

A variety of fortification vehicles can be used, depending on the prevalence of a specific deficiency and the population most affected, the dietary composition and available infrastructure to produce, distribute and monitor fortified foods. The fortification of foods can be mandatory, voluntary or a combination of both.

Several fortification approaches are currently implemented in various countries worldwide including salt iodization, rice fortification and edible oil fortification with iron and folic acid. Biological impact evaluations suggest that the use of fortification can have significant health benefits especially when targeting populations at high risk of deficiencies and where other measures such as dietary diversification and supplementation are not available. However, people may resist fortified foods, cooking properties can be compromised and the bioavailability of added nutrients is sometimes reduced.

Supplements

Vitamin D (also known as calciferol) is a fat-soluble vitamin naturally present in a few foods, added to many others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin. Its recent association with a number of health benefits, including decreased risk for cancer, has made it popular.

It can be found in a variety of forms, such as capsules, softgels, tablets, and gummies. Most supplements contain vitamin D3 rather than the less-used D2. However, some studies have used a form called 25(OH)D3, which is three to five times more potent than vitamin D3.

For most healthy individuals, it is best to get all vitamins and minerals from a diet rich in whole foods. But if you do need supplements, talk to your health care provider. They can advise you on the best product and recommended dose. They can also help ensure you are getting the proper balance of nutrients and that any supplemental pills won’t interfere with other medications or conditions you have.

Foods

The vitamin d market is growing because of the increasing demand for vitamins for the enrichment or fortification of foods and beverages, rising incidences of vitamin d deficiency, and the rising demand for dietary supplements. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central lists the nutrient content of many foods, including vitamin d. This site also includes the amount of 25(OH)d in different types of milk. Brooks SPJ, Sempos CT. The importance of standardization of 25-hydroxyvitamin D assays.

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