As there is increasingly global concern regarding the difficulty to meet recommended intake levels of Vitamin D at population level, it is being demonstrated that, margarine may play a key role at population level intake.
Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. There is also evidence on the relationship between cancer and vitamin D status, although findings are less clear.
In the summer months vitamin D is made in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, however, in the winter months we don’t get any vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D can also be obtained from the diet from foods such as oily fish, red meat, eggs yolks, liver, and fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.
The general advice for people aged 4 years and above is to follow a healthy, balanced diet and consider taking a daily 10 microgram vitamin D supplement in the autumn and winter months as it is difficult to meet the 10 microgram recommendation from consuming foods naturally containing or fortified with vitamin D.
Rajwinder et al., 2016 aimed to determine the potential of compliance with Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) and increased vitamin D fortification to meet the recommended intake level of vitamin D at 10 μg/day based on minimal exposure to sunlight focusing in United Kingdom (UK), Netherlands (NL) and Sweden (SE).
Vitamin D intake in the adult populations of the UK, the NL, and SE are considerably lower than the recommended daily intake of 10 μg, which is based on minimal exposure to sunlight. In these countries, fish, meat, and fat-based spreads (margarine) are the top 3 dietary sources of vitamin D.
The study conducted by Rajwinder et al., 2016 has shown that increased fortification of margarine and milk with vitamin D could increase population vitamin D intake, but higher amounts of vitamin D would need to be added to have a substantial impact on population intakes. It was concluded that combined fortification of margarine and milk has the potential to more than double vitamin D intakes in the UK and the NL, and would bring median intakes closer to the recommended 10 μg/day in the 3 countries studied.
However, effective public health strategies and fortification of more foods would be needed to increase population intakes of vitamin D to the recommended level of 10 μg/day.
Ref: Rajwinder K. Harika, Mariska Dötsch-Klerk Peter, L. Zock Ans Eilander. Compliance with Dietary Guidelines and Increased Fortification Can Double Vitamin D Intake: A Simulation Study. 2016. Nutrition & Metabolism.