Fortified milk to combat vitamin D deficiency

Plans proposed to add vitamin D to food products after research shows dangerously low levels of nutrients in British people

In a mass health drive, vitamin D could be added to several food products such as milk, in order to boost the levels of the nutrient in our bodies.

Research is currently showing that up to 40% of Britons have dangerously low levels of the vitamin in their blood, which could be detrimental to their health.

‘It is widely recognised within government circles that we have a problem now that needs to be addressed,’ said Ann Prentice, chairwoman of the government’s scientific advisory committee on nutrition (SACN).

Scientists have now not only established a link between low levels of vitamin D and bone disorder rickets, but also between the development of bowel and breast cancer, as well as degenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and dementia.

The results due to be published this month will confirm that the vitamin is crucial for the healthy working of hundreds of genes controlling basic body functions.

‘Vitamin D is known to be vital for a wide range of body function,’ affirmed Dr Susan Lanham-New, head of nutrition sciences at Surrey University.

It is usually found in oily fish, eggs and meat, although most of our absorption comes from sunlight during the summer months.

However, due to warnings over skin cancer, in the last decade people have been lathering up with sunscreen, which has partly contributed to the widespread vitamin D deficiency.

The filters in the sunscreen remove UVB, which are the invisible light rays responsible for causing sunburn, but which are also critical for producing vitamin D.

Having food products such as milk fortified with vitamin D seems the only way to ensure that Britons are having their recommended daily allowance.

Britain will be following in the footsteps of Finland and Canada who have already taken steps to combat their deficiency adding the additive to their own food products.


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