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Vitamin D increased Phosphorus absorption (chickens) – RCT Oct 2018

Br J Nutr. 2018 Oct 29:1-13. doi: 10.1017/S0007114518002763. [Epub ahead of print]
Shao Y1, Wen Q1, Zhang S1, Lu L1, Zhang L1, Liao X1, Luo X1.

  • Started with 1 day old chicks
  • In the trial half of the chicks got 3,500 IU of vitamin D per kg (of feed?)
    • It would be nice if humans got 3,500 IU per kilogram of food
  • The Vitamin D activated genes in the gut so as to increase absoprtion of phosphate
  • The Vitamin D also decreased the death rate of the chickens


  • Phosphorus is an essential mineral that is required by every cell in the body for normal function (1). Bound to oxygen in all biological systems, phosphorus is found as phosphate (PO43-) in the body. Approximately 85% of the body's phosphorus is found in bones and teeth (2).
  • About 1% of human body and 0.1% of the earth
  • "Artificial phosphate fertilisation is necessary because phosphorus is essential to all living organisms"
  • "Living cells use phosphate to transport cellular energy with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), necessary for every cellular process that uses energy."

The present study was carried out to evaluate the effect of dietary supplemental vitamin D3 (VD3) on P absorption and utilisation as well as its related mechanisms in the small intestine of broilers. A total of 384 1-d-old Arbor Acres male broilers were assigned randomly into four treatments following a completely randomised design with a 2 (dietary non-phytate P (NPP) contents: 0·43 and 0·22 %)×2 (dietary VD3 supplemental levels: 0 and 87·5 μg/kg) factorial arrangement. The experiment lasted for 22 d. The results showed that P contents in serum from the hepatic portal vein and tibia ash of broilers were higher (P<0·05) for 0·43 % NPP than for 0·22 % NPP. The type IIb Na-dependent phosphate cotransporter (NaP-IIb) protein expressions in the duodenum and ileum were higher (P<0·05) also for 0·43 % NPP than 0·22 % NPP. Supplementation of VD3 enhanced (P<0·05) tibia P retention rate and type III Na-dependent phosphate cotransporter (PiT)-1 protein expression in the duodenum of all broilers.

Moreover, VD3 supplementation decreased (P<0·002) mortality and increased (P<0·02) serum P content from the hepatic portal vein after 4 h of feeding, tibia ash content, tibia ash P content and protein expressions of NaP-IIb and PiT-1 in the jejunum of broilers fed diet with 0·22 % NPP.

Thus, dietary supplemental VD3 promoted intestinal P absorption and bone P utilisation, and this effect might be associated with enhanced PiT-1 levels in the duodenum and PiT-1 and NaP-IIb levels in the jejunum respectively when dietary NPP is limiting.

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