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Vitamin D manufacturing details - 2013

What is the industrial process involved in making Vitamin D3? Quora

  • Depending on the breed, healthy sheep will produce from 2 to 30 pounds of wool each year.
  • Wool is sheared from mature, live sheep.
  • Crude lanolin is extracted from the wool using a scouring process, during which the fleece is washed in hot water with a detergent.
  • Crude lanolin undergoes a saponification process; this separates the fatty component which is removed via centrifugation, from the ‘unsaponifiable’ component, known as ‘lanolin alcohols’.

  • These undergo further steps of saponification and separation to increase purity.
  • Crude cholesterol is extracted from lanolin alcohol using solvent washes and/or column chromatography.
  • The crude cholesterol undergoes a series of further solvent extractions, washes and drying until it is extremely pure and crystalline.
  • Purified cholesterol is then taken through a four-step chemical process to make 7-Dehydrocholesterol, this is otherwise known as ‘pre-Vitamin D3’
  • Next, the pre-Vitamin D3 is irradiated to produce Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol); this is the same reaction that is used by human skin to manufacture the vitamin from sunlight. Some unwanted isomers are formed during irradiation.
  • These are removed by various techniques, leaving a resin which melts at about room temperature and usually has a potency of 25,000,000 to 30,000,000 International Units per gram.
  • Finally, the pure crystals of Vitamin D3 are used to make the stabilized product forms that can be used to manufacture dietary supplements and other end use applications such as foods and beverages.

See also VitaminDWiki

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