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Does taking vitamin D supplements with a fatty meal affect vitamin D status?

Posted on: June 20, 2014   by  Will Hunter


A randomized controlled study in European Journal of Nutrition has found that taking an oral vitamin D supplement while consuming a meal with fat significantly increases vitamin D levels after two weeks compared to taking vitamin D with a meal that contains no fat.

Vitamin D is a lipophilic molecule, meaning that it readily dissolves in fats and oils. Past research on the effect of dietary fat intake on vitamin D absorption and levels has found conflicting results.  However, some of this research was poorly designed and didn’t control for certain confounding variables, and may not have used high enough amounts of fat to notice an effect.

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4 Responses to Does taking vitamin D supplements with a fatty meal affect vitamin D status?

  1. Rita and Misty

    What a great graphic! I love lamb. 🙂 (well, now I am hungry….)

    And lamb, especially grass-fed lamb, really is a great food to pair with your oral vitamin D supplementation. Did you know that lamb is high in zinc? And we all know that zinc is an important co-factor for vitamin D. Here are some other benefits of lamb:

    Lamb is commonly included as a meat consumed in Mediterranean diets, which have repeatedly been shown to help lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

    Grass-fed lamb is a significant source of omega-3 fats, whose adequacy in the diet is associated with decreased risk of inflammation and heart disease. In addition, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is far better in grass-fed lamb than in the average U.S. diet. When omega-3 to omega-6 ratios are improved in research studies on human diets, risk of cardiovascular diseases has been show to decrease.

    Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is found in valuable amounts in grass-fed lamb. Increased intake of this nutrient is associated with reduced inflammation and reduced body fat. Both of these consequences would be expected to lower heart disease risk.

    About 40% of the fat in grass-fed lamb come from oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. This type of fat (for which extra-virgin olive oil is lauded) is generally associated with decreased risk of heart disease.

    Grass-fed lamb is a very good source of selenium and a good source of zinc. Healthy intake of these antioxidant minerals is a protective factor against oxidative stress and development of heart disease.

    Lamb is an excellent source of vitamin B12 and a very good source of niacin. It also provides important amounts of the B vitamins B1, B2, B6, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, and choline. Vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline are especially important for healthy metabolism of homocysteine and can help prevent unwanted accumulation of excess homocysteine in the body. High blood levels of homocysteine are a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease.


  2. [email protected]

    I presume the 50,000 dose was powdered and not associated with fat. Would this result have any implicatation for absorption of soft gel dose which is already associated with fat/oil?

  3. Rita and Misty

    Dear Rep. Seaton~

    Thank you for your hard work and dedicated efforts aimed at ending vitamin D deficiency in Alaska. Folks here might not realize that back in 2013 you sponsored in your state, House Bill 90, the vitamin D newborn testing proposal:


    Did this bill pass? If so, how is the program doing? I’d love to learn more. 🙂

    By the way, your above question is intriguing. I’m looking forward to the answer from VDC.

    Be well,

  4. Will Hunter


    The vitamin D was in powdered form and was 99.9% pure cholecalciferol. I don’t think that this study would apply to soft gels that contain vitamin D and a fat/oil. The fat/oil will likely increase absorption, but the dose contained in these soft gels is usually so low that it will only result in a very slight and non-significant increase.


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