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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2011 11F021 UCC (UCD) €484,562

Project Title:

Irish meat and eggs: their fundamental role in promoting vitamin D nutrition and contribution to health and wellbeing

Project Coordinator:

Prof Kevin Cashman

Project Abstract

Vitamin D inadequacy is common and problematic in Northern latitude countries including Ireland. Vitamin D supplementation will not be effective at a population level because the uptake is low (e.g., only 17% of Irish adults take a vitamin D-containing supplement). Thus, creative food-based solutions to counteract vitamin D inadequacy in Ireland and elsewhere are needed. Recent evidence from our research suggests fortification of foods with vitamin D will not be effective at a population level unless several foods are fortified. Meat and eggs are important sources of vitamin D in the Irish diet due to their content of native vitamin D but also and its major metabolite [25-hydroxyvitamin D]. We have recently shown in a human dietary intervention study that 25- hydroxyvitamin D is five-times more effective at raising serum 25(OH)D (indicator of vitamin D status) than vitamin D per se in healthy Irish older adults, The concentration of these vitamin D compounds in meat and eggs can be enhanced by bio-fortification (addition to animal feeds) and/or by minimizing the significant decline in their concentration post-slaughter. Low-grade meat and organs, rich in both compounds, can also be used in consumer meat products. The current project will provide extremely strong evidence in the form of human dietary intervention data that consumption of Irish beef and pork as well as eggs, as significant sources of vitamin D and its major metabolite [25-hydroxyvitamin D], can help improve vitamin D status of Irish individuals. In this way it will help provide the scientific data to underpin and support positive messages on meat consumption, its fundamental role in the diet as well as its contribution to health and well-being.

Final Report:

Final Report 11F021 (pdf 402Kb)