Olive oil, because of its prevalence in the Italian diet, has been singled out as the best food product to deliver Vitamin D, a key element that promotes calcium absorption and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Mass market brand Olio Dante, working in conjunction with researchers at the Federico II — University of Naples, jointly studied the problem of enriching olive oil for the delivery of Vitamin D.
Professor Annamaria Colao at the university’s Department of Molecular and Clinical Endocrinology and Oncology said of osteoporosis: “Its incidence increases with age to the point that it effects most people over eighty years of age. We estimate that in Italy today there are 3.5 million women and 1 million men effected by osteoporosis.”
The university researchers and olive oil company held a workshop on osteoporosis from 16 to 19 January, where ConDisano, the new fortified DOP extra virgin olive oil was launched. The brand name translates to “With D for Health.” Two tablespoons a day of the oil delivers the daily requirement of Vitamin D.
Olio Dante, belongs to the parent company Oleifici Mataluni di Montesarchio, headquartered in the Benevento province of Campania. Their 2010 sales amounted to € 240,000,000.
Older Italians have unhappy memories of being forced by their parents to consume spoonfuls of cod liver oil, which is rich in Vitamin D, but also has a very unpleasant taste. Salmon and other fish are good sources of the vitamin, but fish is expensive, and beyond the reach of many people.
While Italy is fortunate to have a good, and sunny climate, many Italians are not getting enough sun, especially in the winter months. Older people absorb Vitamin D less easily than younger people, and are less likely to fully expose their legs and arms to the sun.
Olive oil is universally consumed in Italy, with each citizen consuming from 12 to 14 kilos a year. Readers will remember that salt is often iodized and flour, at least in the US, is enriched with folic acid for health reasons.