Boost­ing Vi­ta­min D

The Poultry Bulletin - - CONTENTS -

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.”¡

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