12 January - 20 June 2016

Researchers analyse the benefits of Vitamin D2 from UV-irradiated yeast

Vitamin D3 is often used to fortify foods in Europe to help prevent rickets (vitamin D deficiency). An international team of researchers have published a study to investigate the use of vitamin D2 as an alternative source of fortification.

Vitamin D refers to a number of fat-soluble compounds that are essential in maintaining healthy bones; the most important of which are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). These are needed in order to maintain adequate serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (S-25(OH)D) levels. Vitamin D3 can be synthesized in the body from the UVB light emitted from the sun. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D; although egg yolks and fish contain D3 while a number of wild mushrooms contain D2.

Vitamin D3 is often used to fortify foods in Europe to help prevent rickets (vitamin D deficiency). An international team of researchers have published a study to investigate the use of vitamin D2 as an alternative source of fortification. Vitamin D2 could be a more cost-effective alternative and is a source more suitable for vegans whom may not be able to eat animal-derived sources of vitamin D3.

The researchers studied the bioavailability of D2 from UV-irradiated yeast which was incorporated into bread. In the study, 33 healthy volunteers were separated into four groups: D2 bread + placebo, regular bread + placebo, regular bread + D2 supplement and regular bread + D3 supplement. The amount of D2/D3 in each vitamin D source was confirmed to be the same (~ 25.0 μg) by HPLC.

The concentrations of total S-25(OH)D, S-25(OH)D2 and S-25(OH)D3 were measured by LC-MS/MS at the beginning, middle and end of the 8 week trial. The consumption of the D2 bread lead to no significant increase in S-25(OH)D2 concentration; this suggests that the D2 incorporated into yeast has poor bioavailability in the human body.

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