DSM Nutritional Products sees great potential in products to address Vitamin D3 deficiency in the developed, as well as the developing, world.
Speaking at DSM's '2020: Nourish, Protect and Improve' conference in Switzerland last month, Gareth Barker, head of global marketing at DSM, said: "Vitamin D3 deficiency is widespread."
The prime function of Vitamin D3 was to promote bone health, said Barker. "It's a hot issue. There's a lot of positive science coming out surrounding D3. The levels people have in Europe are far too low. We are seeing a gap and the question is: how do you narrow that? One way is to raise the Recommended daily intake (RDI)."
The evidence was now becoming overwhelming, he said. "The total number of studies out showing significant health benefits [from correct intake] is considerable."
The human body can synthesise Vitamin D in the skin from exposure to ultra violet rays from the sun.
One of the main reasons for Vitamin D deficiency in northern Europe was that there were insufficient hours of sunlight, said Barker.
His comments followed a conference in the European Parliament in March, building momentum to highlight the benefits of adequate Vitamin D intake. The event was organised by PA International Foundation and the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME).
According to the CPME, around 50% of the population is deficient. The RDI is 10 micrograms a day, or 1015 for the elderly, but estimates suggest the average per person is 34 micrograms. Janos Ader, Hungarian centre-right Member of the European Parliament, is pressing for a renewed Vitamin D nutritional policy in Europe.