Lallemand’s lengthy petition to authorize the use of vitamin D2 baker’s yeast as a nutrient supplement and leavening agent or dough relaxer in yeast-containing baked products, highlights widespread D deficiency in American and Canadian populations.
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.
The petition, which relates only to the US, seeks to raise the permitted level from 90IU to 400IU per 100g of baked products and is due a response from the regulator in March.
“As people drink less milk the problem of vitamin D deficiency rises and that is why more dietitians and scientists are calling for increased vitamin D intakes via other foods such as baked products,” said Lallemand/American Yeast president, Gary Edwards.
Based on Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations, official daily intake levels from all food sources in the US and Canada sitsat 200IU for under 50-year-olds; 400IU for 50-70-year-olds; and 600IU for those over 70.
In the wake of US Department of Agriculture data that shows about 70 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient and upwards of 90 percent in Canada, the IOM is reviewing these levels, including safe upper levels some are expecting may rise to 10,000IU per day as opposed to the current level of 2000IU.
Its vitamin D yeast version is exposed to light in its manufacture, thus increasing its vitamin D2 payload, Edwards said.
Lallemand in August launched a baker’s yeast with boosted vitamin D levels called vitaD that used a patent pending process to convert yeast-dwelling sterols into vitamin D, while not altering the yeast’s leavening and flavor specifications.
The initiative was the company’s first foray into the vitamin D market.
With vitaD, 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 at US levels.
The read 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 320nm), 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.