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Biofortification with Vitamin D - several studies

The future is bright: Biofortification of common foods can improve vitamin D status - July 2023

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition Vol 63, 2023 - Issue 4 https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2021.1950609
Holly R. Neill ORCID Icon,Chris I. R. Gill ORCID Icon,Emma J. McDonald,W. Colin McRoberts &L. Kirsty P

Vitamin D deficiency is a global concern, linked to suboptimal musculoskeletal health and immune function, with status inadequacies owing to variations in UV dependent cutaneous synthesis and limited natural dietary sources. Endogenous biofortification, alongside traditional fortification and supplement usage is urgently needed to address this deficit. Evidence reviewed in the current article clearly demonstrates that feed modification and UV radiation, either independently or used in combination, effectively increases vitamin D content of primary produce or ingredients, albeit in the limited range of food vehicles tested to date (beef/pork/chicken/eggs/fish/bread/mushrooms). Fewer human trials have confirmed that consumption of these biofortified foods can increase circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations (n = 10), which is of particular importance to avoid vitamin D status declining to nadir during wintertime. Meat is an unexplored yet plausible food vehicle for vitamin D biofortification, owing, at least in part, to its ubiquitous consumption pattern. Consumption of PUFA-enriched meat in human trials demonstrates efficacy (n = 4), lighting the way for exploration of vitamin D-biofortified meats to enhance consumer vitamin D status. Response to vitamin D-biofortified foods varies by food matrix, with vitamin D3-enriched animal-based foods observing the greatest effect in maintaining or elevating 25(OH)D concentrations. Generally, the efficacy of biofortification appears to vary dependent upon vitamer selected for animal feed supplementation (vitamin D2 or D3, or 25(OH)D), baseline participant status and the bioaccessibility from the food matrix. Further research in the form of robust human clinical trials are required to explore the contribution of biofortified foods to vitamin D status.
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Biofortification's contribution to mitigating micronutrient deficiencies (behind paywall) Jan 2024

Nat Food. 2024 Jan 2. doi: 10.1038/s43016-023-00905-8
Jie Li 1, Cathie Martin 2, Alisdair Fernie 3

Biofortification was first proposed in the early 1990s as a low-cost, sustainable strategy to enhance the mineral and vitamin contents of staple food crops to address micronutrient malnutrition. Since then, the concept and remit of biofortification has burgeoned beyond staples and solutions for low- and middle-income economies. Here we discuss what biofortification has achieved in its original manifestation and the main factors limiting the ability of biofortified crops to improve micronutrient status. We highlight the case for biofortified crops with key micronutrients, such as provitamin D3/vitamin D3, vitamin B12 and iron, for recognition of new demographics of need. Finally, we examine where and how biofortification can be integrated into the global food system to help overcome hidden hunger, improve nutrition and achieve sustainable agriculture.

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Biofortified tomatoes provide a new route to vitamin D sufficiency - May 2022

Nature Plants volume 8, pages6 11–616 (2022)
Jie Li, Aurelia Scarano, Nestor Mora Gonzalez, Fabio D’Orso, Yajuan Yue, Krisztian Nemeth, Gerhard Saalbach, Lionel Hill, Carlo de Oliveira Martins, Rolando Moran, Angelo Santino & Cathie Martin

Poor vitamin D status is a global health problem; insufficiency underpins higher risk of cancer, neurocognitive decline and all-cause mortality. Most foods contain little vitamin D and plants are very poor sources. We have engineered the accumulation of provitamin D3 in tomato by genome editing, modifying a duplicated section of phytosterol biosynthesis in Solanaceous plants, to provide a biofortified food with the added possibility of supplement production from waste material.
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Biofortification of meat with vitamin D - Jan 2019

CABI Reviews 2018 https://doi.org/10.1079/PAVSNNR201813045 PDF behind paywall
S. K. Duffy, A. K. Kelly, Gaurav Rajauria, J. V. O'Doherty

Vitamin D deficiency in humans is a major health concern and is very much to the forefront of public health policy, particularly in Europe and northern latitudes where sufficient synthesis of vitamin D through sunlight is limited. Therefore, increased importance of dietary vitamin D intake now applies to these problematic areas. Food sources containing natural vitamin D are limiting and traditional measures such as supplements and exogenous fortification are not effective at a population level as general intakes are low and will only meet the needs of those who consume. Therefore, there is a demand for more effective food-based strategic approaches to increase vitamin D intakes, one of which is biofortification of animal feeds to produce a much wider range of sustainable natural vitamin D-enriched foods. Meat is among the few foods that contain natural occurring vitamin D, which makes it an excellent target food for biofortification. Additionally, meat contains the 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D) metabolite, which has been shown to have a quicker absorption and is subsequently more effective at raising serum 25-OH-D in humans in comparison with other vitamin D metabolites. This review will discuss the development of vitamin D bio-fortification of animal diets with different vitamin D sources and their potential to produce vitamin D enriched meat including beef and pork meat. Biofortification of meat could contribute up to 25% of individuals estimated average requirement of vitamin D. Additionally, it will also discuss how vitamin D biofortification of animal diets improves product quality.

Improving vitamin D content in pork meat by UVB biofortification - May 2023

Meat Science Volume 199, May 2023, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2023.109115
H.R. Neill a, C.I.R. Gill a, E.J. McDonald b, R. McMurray b, W.C. McRoberts c, R. Loy c, A. White c, R. Little d, R. Muns d, E.J. Rosbotham a, U. O'Neill e, S. Smyth f, L.K. Pourshahidi a


  • Food-based strategies are warranted to address suboptimal vitamin D intakes.
  • Daily UVB exposure over 9 weeks doubled vitamin D3 concentrations in pork loin.
  • UV pigs which stood more during exposure had higher loin vitamin D3 concentrations.

Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent worldwide and identification of alternative food-based strategies are urgently warranted. In two studies, 12-week old crossbred pigs (Duroc x (Large White x Landrace)) were exposed daily to narrowband UVB radiation for ∼10 weeks or control (no UVB exposure) until slaughter. In Study 1 (n = 48), pigs were exposed to UVB for 2 min and in Study 2 (n = 20), this duration was tripled to 6 min. All pigs were fed the maximum permitted 2000 IU vitamin D3/kg feed. Loin meat was cooked prior to vitamin D LC-MS/MS analysis. In Study 1, pork loin vitamin D3 did not differ between groups. Study 2 provided longer UVB exposure time and resulted in significantly higher loin vitamin D3 (11.97 vs. 6.03 μg/kg), 25(OH)D3 (2.09 vs. 1.65 μg/kg) and total vitamin D activity (22.88 vs. 14.50 μg/kg) concentrations, compared to control (P < 0.05). Pigs remained healthy during both studies and developed no signs of erythema. Biofortification by UVB radiation provides an effective strategy to further safely increase the naturally occurring vitamin D content of pork loin, alongside feed supplementation.
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Note: in some cases the animal naturally has vitamin D (much less if indoors or in pond)

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Biofortification with Vitamin D - several studies        
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