Yeast altered to deliver vitamin D yield

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Vitamin d

Yeast altered to deliver vitamin D yield
Canadian supplier, Lallemand, has launched a form of baker’s yeast that has been altered to boost vitamin D levels and will be available to customers that already employ Lallemand's yeasts as well as new clients.

Lallemand has employed a patent pending process to convert yeast-dwelling sterols into vitamin D, while not altering yeast’s leavening and flavor specifications.

It has worked on the project for two years and it is the company’s first foray into the vitamin D market.

Lallemand president and chief executive officer, Jean Chagnon, told the regular ingredient would be offered at the same price as its regular baking yeast – although a super version would cost more.

“Converting the yeast sterols to vitamin D is not too onerous if done systematically and we felt the best way to make a difference was to offer this added feature free of charge,”​ he said. “We naturally hope to gain some more business if this proves to be of value to the bakers and their customers.

Preliminary testing involving unnamed baking houses had been conducted by the company, with some committing to launching products.

D options

Lallemand said fresh cream, fresh compressed and instant dried yeasts could be delivered with boosted vitamin D content.

Baked products using formulas using either one percent dry yeast, three percent compressed yeast or five percent cream yeast in, could provide 25IU or 6.25 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D.

A high-dose version, ‘VitaD Plus’, would allow products to make the claim, “excellent” ​source of vitamin D.

“A few baker customers have been confidentially consulted along the way and some have decided to launch specialty products using our VitaD plus to complement the level obtained with our regular yeast,”​ Chagnon said.

“It is up to them to publicize this and I expect some of them to do this soon.”

Silver bullet

Chagnon said baked products, like other sectors of the food industry, were interested in making their products healthier.

“As the baking industry is continuously striving to strengthen the healthy attributes of bread and all baked goods they produce, we hope they can make use of this added benefit,”​ he observed.

“This is not meant to be a 'silver bullet' to propel baked goods into the heath food category but to simply provide another natural 'healthy' attribute to highlight and help maintain and possibly strengthen bread's position as part of a healthy diet.”

The details on D

Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors - D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. The former, produced in the skin on exposure to UVB radiation (290 to 320 nm), is said to be more bioactive.

While our bodies do manufacture vitamin D on exposure to sunshine, the levels in some northern countries are so weak during the winter months that our body makes no vitamin D at all, meaning that dietary supplements and fortified foods are seen by many as the best way to boost intakes of vitamin D.

In adults, it is said vitamin D deficiency may precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. There is also some evidence that the vitamin may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer and type-1 diabetes.

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