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‘Take vitamin D supplements along with a fat-containing meal for good absorption’, say researchers

Posted:  Tuesday, December 02, 2014

For some supplements, the time of consuming them can make a world of difference in their absorption. Researchers from Tufts University have found that taking vitamin D supplements along with a fat-containing meal may boost the absorption of the vitamin by 32% compared to a fat-free meal.

Published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the study also aimed to identify if the ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) to polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the diet influenced the absorption of vitamin D.

The researchers recruited 50 healthy older men and women to be a part of this 1-day study. They then divided them into 3 groups; the first group consumed a fat-free meal, whereas the second and third groups consumed meals with 30% of calories from fat. Their meals differed in the MUFA to PUFA ratio. The second group had a low MUFA to PUFA ratio of 1:4, whereas the third group had a high ratio of 4:1. All the participants took a single 50,000 IU dose of vitamin D3 in the powdered form along with the meals.

The study found that those consuming a fat-containing meal reported higher absorption of vitamin D compared to the fat-free meal group. Not just that, the same group also reported greater absorption at 10 and 14 hours to the tune of 40% and 25%, respectively. Contrary to the researchers’ expectations, the MUFA to PUFA ratio did not make a difference in the absorption rate.

“This finding improves our understanding of how the composition of a meal taken in conjunction with vitamin D impacts its absorption. This study provides the rationale for recommending that vitamin D supplements be taken with a meal containing fat. It may also influence the design of future studies of vitamin D absorption”, commented Bess Dowson-Hughes, the first author of the study.

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