Natural Foods Merchandiser

Vitamin-fortified cheese as potent as supplements

by Shara Rutberg

Researchers who conducted a recent study suggest that getting your dose of D from fondue might be as potent as packing it in a potion form. Scientists from the University of Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital, the Egyptian National Research Center, the University of Saskatchewan and Ryerson University pitted cheddar against liquid supplements to test the bioavailability of the vitamin. Eighty participants were randomly assigned to receive weekly servings of fortified cheddar, fortified low-fat cheese or a vitamin D supplement. The data demonstrated that vitamin D was equally bioavailable from fortified hard cheeses and supplements. The study was published in the July 2008 Journal of Nutrition.

In adults, vitamin D deficiency may worsen various conditions, including: osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. The body produces the vitamin when exposed to sunlight, but the wisdom of boosting levels via sunshine versus supplements has been debated, particularly when taking into account the prevalence of skin cancer. Vitamin D fortification of milk is mandatory in Finland, while illegal in other European countries.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 8/p. 8

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