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J Dairy Sci. 2005 Jul;88(7):2295-301.

Bioavailability of vitamin D from fortified process cheese and effects on vitamin D status in the elderly.

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  • 1Dairy Science Department, South Dakota State University, Brookings, 57007, USA.


We conducted 2 studies to determine the effect of vitamin D-fortified cheese on vitamin D status and the bioavailability of vitamin D in cheese. The first study was designed to determine the effect of 2 mo of daily consumption of vitamin D3-fortified (600 IU/d) process cheese on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD), parathyroid hormone (PTH), and osteocalcin (OC) concentrations among 100 older (> or =60 yr) men and women. Participants were randomized to receive vitamin D-fortified cheese, nonfortified cheese, or no cheese. Serum levels of 25-OHD, PTH, and OC were measured at the beginning and end of the study. There were no differences in 25-OHD, PTH, or OC after 2 mo of fortified cheese intake. The vitamin D-fortified cheese group had a greater decrease in 25-OHD than other groups, due to higher baseline 25-OHD. A second study was conducted to determine whether the bioavailability of vitamin D2 in cheese (delivering 5880 IU of vitamin D2/56.7-g serving) and water (delivering 32,750 IU/250 mL) is similar and whether absorption differs between younger and older adults. The second study was a crossover trial involving 2 groups of 4 participants each (younger and older group) that received single acute feedings of either vitamin D2-fortified cheese or water. Serial blood measurements were taken over 24 h following the acute feeding. Peak serum vitamin D and area under the curve were similar between younger (23 to 50 yr) and older (72 to 84 yr) adults, and vitamin D2 was absorbed more efficiently from cheese than from water. These studies demonstrated that vitamin D in fortified process cheese is bioavailable, and that young and older adults have similar absorption. Among older individuals, consuming 600 IU of vitamin D3 daily from cheese for 2 mo was insufficient to increase serum 25-OHD during limited sunlight exposure.

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