Vitamin D-fortified foods improve wintertime vitamin D status in women of Danish and Pakistani origin living in Denmark: a randomized controlled trial

Eur J Nutr. 2020 Mar;59(2):741-753. doi: 10.1007/s00394-019-01941-6. Epub 2019 Mar 9.


Purpose: Low vitamin D status is prevalent worldwide. We aim to investigate the effect of vitamin D fortification on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration in women of Danish and Pakistani origin at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Methods: A 12-week randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled intervention trial during winter time, designed to provide 20 µg vitamin D3/day through fortified yoghurt, cheese, eggs and crisp bread, and assess the change in serum 25(OH)D. Participants were 143 women of Danish and Pakistani origin, living in Denmark, randomized into four groups, stratified by ethnicity.

Results: Mean (SD) baseline 25(OH)D concentrations among women of Danish and Pakistani origin were 49.6 (18) and 46.9 (22) nmol/L, respectively (P = 0.4). While 9% of Danish women had 25(OH)D < 30 nmol/L, the prevalence among women of Pakistani origin was 24%. Median (IQR) vitamin D intake among Danish and Pakistani women at endpoint was 32.0 (27.0, 34.4) µg/day and 24.2 (19.2, 30.8) µg/day, respectively. Endpoint serum 25(OH)D increased in fortified groups to 77.8 (14) nmol/L among Danish women and 54.7 (18) nmol/L among women of Pakistani origin (P < 0.01). At endpoint, 0% in the Danish-fortified group and 3% in the Pakistani-fortified group had 25(OH)D < 30 nmol/L, compared with 23 % and 34% in their respective control groups.

Conclusions: Vitamin D fortification of four different foods for 12 weeks during winter was effective in increasing serum 25(OH)D and reducing the prevalence of very low vitamin D status among women of Danish and Pakistani origin. CLINICALTRIALS.

Gov with identifier: NCT02631629.

Keywords: Food-based RCT; Fortified foods; ODIN; Vitamin D; Women of Danish origin; Women of Pakistani origin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Pakistan / ethnology
  • Seasons*
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*
  • Vitamins / blood
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D

Associated data