Australian professor calls for Vitamin D fortification of milk but can mushrooms provide alternative solution?

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th June 2012

At a conference in Melbourne today (Tuesday 12 June 2012), a leading Australian nutrition expert called for an urgent increase in Vitamin D to milk to be authorized by the government.

At the conference, run by the Australian Academy of Science National Committee for Nutrition, Professor Caryl Nowsom from Deakin University called Vitamin D deficiency a “significant problem” in Australia. She said, “Our recent study showed that of 11,500 Australians, one third were Vitamin D deficient. This study also found that 50% of women in Victoria were deficient in Vitamin D.”

Professor Nowsom told Australian Food News she would like to see milk in Australia and New Zealand supplemented with low levels of Vitamin D. When asked about the potential side-effects of allowing more Vitamin D into the food supply, she said, “We’re talking about adding very low levels – the same levels that have been added to milk in Canada for the last 35 years without any problem.”

Professor Nowsom said, “Generally our intake of Vitamin D is 2 – 3 micrograms per day; the supplement in milk would increase this to 6 – 7 micrograms per day. This would help to target seasonal decline and prevent diseases such as Rickets, a softening of the bones caused by Vitamin D deficiency.”

Vitamin D mushrooms

Greg Seymour, general manager of the Australian Mushroom Growers’ Association, was also a speaker at the Symposium this afternoon and suggested that mushrooms may provide a natural solution to Australia’s Vitamin D deficiency.

Western Australia is soon to have Vitamin-D enhanced mushrooms. Two mushroom producers have found that three seconds under a UV light allows mushrooms to generate an amount of Vitamin D higher than the recommended daily intake.