Background: The relative potency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 to vitamin D3 needs to be better defined so that food-composition tables can better reflect the true vitamin D nutritive value of certain foods.
Objective: We performed a randomized, controlled intervention study in apparently healthy, free-living adults to investigate whether the intake of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 is 5 times more potent in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] during winter compared with an equivalent amount of vitamin D3.
Design: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind intervention study was conducted in adults aged ≥50 y (n = 56) who consumed a placebo, 20 μg vitamin D3, or 7 or 20 μg 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 daily throughout 10 wk of winter. Serum 25(OH)D was measured by using an enzyme-linked immunoassay, and serum albumin-corrected calcium (S-Ca) was assessed colorimetrically at the baseline, midpoint, and endpoint of the study.
Results: The mean (±SD) increases (per microgram of vitamin D compound) in serum 25(OH)D concentrations over baseline after 10 wk of supplementation were 0.96 ± 0.62, 4.02 ± 1.27, and 4.77 ± 1.04 nmol · L(-1) · μg intake(-1) for the 20-μg vitamin D3/d and 7- and 20-μg 25-hydroxyvitamin D3/d groups, respectively. A comparison of the 7- and 20-μg 25-hydroxyvitamin D3/d groups with the 20-μg vitamin D3/d group yielded conversion factors of 4.2 and 5, respectively. There was no effect of treatment on S-Ca concentrations and no incidence of hypercalcemia (S-Ca >2.6 nmol/L).
Conclusions: Each microgram of orally consumed 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 was about 5 times more effective in raising serum 25(OH)D in older adults in winter than an equivalent amount of vitamin D3. This conversion factor could be used in food-compositional tables for relevant foods. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01398202.