An increased boost of vitamin D just got approved for milk, milk alternative beverages and plant-based yogurt alternatives. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its blessing on allowing more vitamin D to these food items after evaluating the projected dietary exposure to humans of this additive has been determined to be safe
The foods affected by this approval are considered an option for them if they wish to increase the amount of vitamin D to their products. The approval applies to the addition of vitamin D to beverages made from edible plants intended as milk alternatives such as those made from soy, almond, and coconut, and edible plant-based yogurt alternatives (soy, coconut, almond and rice). Soy beverages had already been authorized to add vitamin D in their product but this endorsement now allows increased amounts for other popular beverages intended as a milk alternative.
What will now be allowed is for manufacturers to add up to 84 International Units (IU)/100grams of vitamin D3 to milk, 84 IU/100 grams of vitamin D2 to plant-based milk alternatives (soy, almond, and coconut based beverages) and 89 IU/100 grams of vitamin D2 to plant-based yogurt alternatives.
As of July 18, 2016, manufacturers may begin using the new amounts of vitamin D to milk and milk alternatives boosting the vitamin D content of these beverages.
This approval was made only after a thorough scientific safety review of information ensuring that increasing vitamin D to these foods was safe for the general population.
A 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found the highest rates of vitamin D deficiency was in non-Hispanic blacks (31%), Mexican-Americans (12%) and non-Hispanic whites (3%). There is evidence that vitamin D deficiency may possibly be linked to several chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for human health. Our main source is sunlight in which our body can manufacture vitamin D from this source and is the reason for vitamin D’s nickname “the sunshine vitamin.” Food sources of vitamin D are few and only include fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and foods fortified with vitamin D like dairy products or vitamin D fortified orange juice, soy milk and cereals.
There are two major forms vitamin D comes in – vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. If a product simply states “vitamin D” without a subscript, it represents either vitamin D2 or D3 or both.
Vitamin D’s main function is helping our body absorb calcium and phosphorus in the small intestine. Without vitamin D, our body would not be able to absorb these two minerals. An excess intake of vitamin D can result in hypercalcemia which is elevated calcium levels in the blood.
This new allowance by the FDA for increased amounts of vitamin D for milk and milk alternatives will be another valuable source of this important nutrient that is not always easy to obtain.