There has been a lot of media coverage regarding concern over the potential for vitamin D deficiency in the human population. This is, in part, due to people getting reduced exposure to sunlight either because of a more sedentary lifestyle or as a precaution against the risk of skin cancer. Public Health England (PHE) has recently issued new guidelines in relation to vitamin D in the human diet.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) have recommended a daily intake of 10 microgrammes (mcg) of vitamin D for all age groups over 1 year assuming minimal sunlight exposure.

PHE advice to the general public is that for people over the age of five, 10 mcg can obtained from a combination of diet and sunlight between April and September. From October to March everyone over the age of five will need to rely on dietary sources of vitamin D. The main dietary sources listed are: oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolk. They suggest that during these winter months people consider taking a dietary supplement and for those getting little or no exposure to the sun should be taking a daily supplement containing 10 mcg vitamin D throughout the year.

From a poultry perspective eggs are relatively high in vitamin D with a 100 g portion of whole egg providing 3.2 mcg vitamin D. Poultrymeat when compared to red meats such as beef or lamb doesn’t contain as much vitamin D (typically in the range of 0.1 – 0.6 mcg/100g) with the skin generally having the highest concentration. Whilst the Feedingstuffs Regulations tightly control the addition of vitamin D to animal feed there is some scope to promote poultry products as either a ‘source of’ or ‘high in’ vitamin D.

From a poultry perspective eggs are relatively high in vitamin D with a 100 g portion of whole egg providing 3.2 mcg vitamin D.

Steve Pritchard