Forget The Sun - Get Vitamin D From Eggs, Fish
More than one in four West Australians can expect to be vitamin D deficient this winter but the solution might be as simple as eating fish and eggs, research shows.
Curtin University has found that eating two large eggs, or one egg and a small piece of white fish such as barramundi, will supply most people with their daily intake of the “sunshine vitamin”.
Figures being presented at the Dietitians Association of Australia’s national conference in Hobart this week show vitamin D deficiency is rife in Australia, at least in part because people are spending more time indoors.
Researcher Rachel Cheang said that overall 17 per cent — or one in six people — in WA lacked vitamin D, but in winter the rate increased to 28 per cent.
The most at risk included those people who were aged 18-24, born in Asia, overweight or obese, not physically active and smokers. She said people who did not get enough vitamin D were at risk of developing soft, thin and brittle bones.
While most people relied on sun exposure to get vitamin D, dietary sources could help compensate for less time spent outdoors. “If you struggle to get enough sun exposure during the day, especially over winter, oily fish such as salmon and tuna, meat, eggs, mushrooms and some dairy foods can help because they contain vitamin D,” Ms Cheang said.
“We need vitamin D, whether it’s from the sun or from food.”
A dietary pilot study by colleague Eleanor Dunlop found that while oily fish had the most vitamin D, a 100g serve of cooked white fish such as barramundi, basa, hoki or king dory provided about half the recommended daily intake. Two large cooked eggs provided enough vitamin D for the day, based on the recommended five micrograms a day for people aged one to 50.
“Based on our findings, either two eggs, or one egg and a serve of white fish, may allow many Australians to get their vitamin D intake for the day,” Ms Dunlop said.
Lucinda Black, who heads Curtin’s vitamin D research, said they hoped to extend the pilot study to test more than 200 types of food. “We don’t know how much vitamin D is in many foods, so we don’t know if we should be fortifying more products to ensure people are getting enough,” Dr Black said.