Picture of osteoporotic bone, healthy bone, fish, bread


Certain groups among the European populations are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency either because of sequestration from sunlight as a matter of social or religious habit, or their age, or because of special physiological circumstances, which create an extra demand for effective absorption of calcium. It is on the quantification of the deficiencies in three such groups and the feasibility of their repair by food fortification that the proposal focuses.

Three objectives are as follows:

  • To determine the effects of dietary intervention with vitamin D on the pattern of calcium metabolism with particular reference to skeletal changes in: Adolescent girls, Elderly individuals, Muslim families;

  • To determine, in a longitudinal study in 5 countries of Europe, seasonal variation in vitamin D insufficiencies and to relate them to measured solar exposure and dietary vitamin intakes both from natural and from fortified foods.

  • To develop specially prepared bread fortified with vitamin D.

To fulfil the objectives five work packages will be needed entitled:

  1. Adolescent Girls - Impact of vitamin D on bone accretion.
  2. Elderly - Determination of lowest beneficial dose.
  3. Muslim Families – Vitamin D, bone accretion and lack of sun exposure.
  4. Five Countries – Contribution of diet and sun exposure for vitamin D status
    across Europe.
  5. Fortification of Bread – Bioavailability of vitamin D from a non-fatty food.

The Co-ordinator will appoint a Project Management Team of all the Work Package Leaders that will act to drive the project, and to ensure that the deliverables are made available and milestones achieved at the time stated.

The three intervention studies on high risk populations of adolescent girls, elderly and a selected population of Muslim families will be used to assist in the determination of the scale of food fortification to derive beneficial effects.

The trans-national study will determine in different environmental and cultural conditions the influence of seasonal variation on vitamin D levels. Simultaneous measurements of exposure to sunlight will be made.

The final work package will explore the feasibility of food fortification of a non-fatty-food (bread) with vitamin D.