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Research questions salmon's vitamin D

by Ellen Hardy
16 November 2007, at 12:00am

US - If you're depending on farmed salmon for your daily vitamin D quota, you might rethink your strategy. It's a healthy food, but it doesn't contain the bounty of vitamin D many nutritionists count on.

New research shows that popular farmed salmon has only a quarter as much vitamin D as wild caught. Although wild salmon doesn't have quite enough vitamin D to meet new suggested medical guidelines, it's a much better bet.

The USDA has long claimed that 3.5 ounces of salmon contains 400 to 700 units. While it is true that wild-caught salmon can contain up to 900 units, said Boston University professor of medicine Michael Holick, farmed salmon provides only 200 units. Even the common 6-ounce fillet or salmon steak would contain less than 400.

"These (USDA) studies were done many years ago, and no one ever questioned them and no one ever thought about the difference between farmed and wild caught," said Holick, who is now working with the USDA and Food and Drug Administration on revising vitamin D test methods and content in government dietary tables.

Adding to Holick's concern: His research and that of other investigators show that the Recommended Adequate Intake of 200 units is far too low for most children and adults.

Standards for vitamin D have long been outdated, Holick said.

"Most of the data was generated at a time when they were interested in preventing Rickets in children," he said. One hundred units of vitamin D can prevent a child from getting rickets, a bone disease caused by prolonged vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D was added to milk to prevent rickets; an 8-ounce glass provides 100 units.

"You can't get (all) your vitamin D by eating salmon, period," Holick said. "You'd have to eat it every day, even if you ate wild caught.

Source: Nashua Telegraph

Further Reading

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Ellen Hardy