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Friday, July 1, 2022

Scientists Have Found a New Way To Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency

Without Sunshine or Vitamin D supplements.

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

Vitamins are still popular a century after their discovery, with half of the population in the United States and the United Kingdom taking a supplement.

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is the most popular and is thought to have the most scientifically documented advantages.

Now, a new study says that tomatoes can be genetically modified to produce more provitamin D3, also known as the “sunshine vitamin”.

Scientists hope to make these tomatoes a new dietary source of vitamin D, which would have a substantial positive impact on public health because many people are vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D deficiency affects around one billion individuals on the planet, increasing the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Although people can synthesis vitamin D3 when exposed to sunlight, the majority of this naturally occurring vitamin in the body comes from the food, as sunscreens inhibit vitamin D production. However, because many people do not consume enough vitamin D-rich foods, they must take vitamin D supplements in tablet form.

Researchers from Britain, Italy, Belgium, Chile, and Cuba, led by Kathy Martin of the John Innes Research Center and written in the journal Nature Plants, changed a tomato gene that codes for an enzyme. In this way, they prevented the enzyme from converting this vitamin into cholesterol. As a result, provitamin D3 accumulates in the tomatoes themselves as well as the leaves of the tomato plant, without compromising the plant’s development or production.

When a person is exposed to UV-B sunshine, provitamin D3 can be converted to regular vitamin D3 using artificial ultraviolet radiation, or it can be used by the human body to create vitamin D3 naturally.

When converted to vitamin D3, the quantity of provitamin D3 in a single tomato is equal to the amount of vitamin D3 in two medium-sized eggs or 28 grams of tuna. The researchers believe that eating these modified tomatoes – whole or in tomato juice – will provide enough vitamin D3 to meet the daily needs of both children and the elderly (15 and 20 micrograms respectively).

Scientists also want to conduct more study into genetically modifying other plants, such as potatoes, to improve vitamin D levels.

Image Credit: Getty

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