Diet-NutritionVitamin D

Orange juice as a source of vitamin D

There’s a short list of food sources of vitamin D.

Researchers from Boston compared the bioavailability of vitamins D2 and D3 from orange juice vs capsules.

First, the details.

  • A group of healthy adults received 1000 IU vitamin D3, 1000 IU vitamin D2, or placebo in orange juice or a capsule for 11 weeks at the end of winter.
  • Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

And, the results.

  • 64% of participants began the study deficient in vitamin D (less than 20 ng/mL).
  • Vitamin D from orange juice and capsules were both bioavailable to the body.
  • There was no difference in blood levels of vitamin D3 obtained from juice or capsules.
  • There was no difference in blood levels between vitamin D2 from juice or capsules.
  • There was no significant difference in parathyroid hormone concentrations between the groups.
    • Parathyroid hormone stimulates production of active vitamin D in the kidney, which facilitates calcium absorption from the intestines.

The bottom line?

So, fortified orange juice is as good a source of vitamin D as a capsule.

The NIH has published a dietary supplement fact sheet on vitamin D, which includes background and other food sources of the vitamin.

More on the science of vitamin D is here. And a new Medscape review is here.

5/10/10 14:03 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.