Boosting Vitamin D
Eggs the answer for no sunlight
With autumn and winter approaching, we should make sure that we get enough vitamin D. New research over the past decade has revealed that Vitamin D performs many more functions in the body than regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption, keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy and supporting the health of the immune system. It is only found naturally in a handful of foods, eggs being one of them.
Scientists at Newcastle University believe that eggs could hold the answer to the lack of sunlight in the UK. Researchers at the city’s Institute for Agri-food Research and Innovation (IAFRI) are conducting a major study into whether ‘sunshine eggs’ could increase people’s levels of vitamin D during the autumn and winter months.
PHD student Estelle Rickleton, who is leading the study said: “Since we can’t rely on our diets, or the winter sun, to provide adequate amounts, there is an urgent need to explore enriched foods as a way to increase vitamin D intake.”
Groups at risk of low vitamin D include babies and
young children; children and adolescents who spend little time playing outside; pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers; people over 65 because their skin is not as good at making vitamin D; and people with darker skin tones.
Also at risk are those who always cover most of their skin when outside; as well as anyone who spends very little time outside during the summer – the housebound, shop or office workers, night shift workers. A vitamin D deficiency can also result from polluted air, and people who have had bariatric surgery are also at risk.
“Eggs are a natural source of the vitamin, so we think that ‘sunshine eggs’ that are enriched with vitamin D could offer a convenient way for people to increase their intake of this essential vitamin. The vitamin D in eggs is derived from the hens’ diet and there is well established evidence now that feeding hens additional vitamin D is both very safe and results in eggs with higher vitamin D.”¡