European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 56, Issue 7, pp 2367–2377 | Cite as

Reduced-fat Gouda-type cheese enriched with vitamin D3 effectively prevents vitamin D deficiency during winter months in postmenopausal women in Greece

  • Yannis ManiosEmail author
  • George Moschonis
  • Christina Mavrogianni
  • EGHM van den Heuvel
  • Cécile M. Singh-Povel
  • Mairead Kiely
  • Kevin D. Cashman
Original Contribution



The primary aim of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of daily consumption of vitamin D3-enriched, reduced-fat Gouda-type cheese on 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration in postmenopausal women. Health-related quality of life (HRQL) indices were examined as secondary outcomes.


This is a single-blinded (i.e., to study participants), randomized, controlled food-based dietary intervention study.


A sample of 79 postmenopausal women (55–75 years old) was randomized either to a control group (CG: n = 39) or an intervention group (IG: n = 40) that consumed, as part of their usual diet, 60 g of either non-enriched or vitamin D3 enriched Gouda-type cheese, respectively, for eight consecutive weeks (i.e., from January to March 2015). Sixty grams of enriched cheese provided a daily dose of 5.7 μg of vitamin D3.


There was a differential response of mean (95 % CI) serum 25(OH)D levels in the IG and CG, with the former increasing and the latter decreasing significantly over the eight weeks of the trial [i.e., by 5.1 (3.4, 6.9) nmol/L vs. −4.6 (−6.4, −2.8) nmol/L, P < 0.001, respectively]. The percentages of study participants with 25(OH)D levels <30 (deficiency) and <50 nmol/L (insufficiency) were significantly higher at follow-up in the CG compared to the IG (41.0 vs. 0 %, P < 0.001 and 74.4 vs. 47.5 %, P < 0.001, respectively). The emotional well-being scale of the HRQL score increased in the IG compared to a decrease in the CG (3.2 vs. −3.8, P = 0.028). However, none of the other seven scales of the HRQL score significantly differentiated between study groups (P > 0.1).


Consumption of 60 g of vitamin D3-enriched, reduced-fat Gouda-type cheese provided a daily dose of 5.7 μg of additional vitamin D3 and was effective in increasing mean serum 25(OH)D concentration and in counteracting vitamin D deficiency during winter months in postmenopausal women in Greece.


Postmenopausal women Vitamin D 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Cheese Enriched dairy 



The authors would like to thank all study group members that contributed to the study execution: Eirini Efstathopoulou, Eftychia Apostolidou, Antigoni Tsiafitsa, Athanasios Douligeris, Konstantina Maragkopoulou, Paraskeui-Evita Siatitsa, Efstathoula Argiri and Chrysanthe Papafotiou, as well as all study participants. Support of M. Roordink for the development and production of vitamin D-enriched cheese and of Jette Jacobs for the measurement of vitamin D content in the cheese is also greatly acknowledged.


This work was supported by funding received by the authors from the European Commission under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) ODIN (Grant Agreement No. 613977). All cheese products were produced and provided by FrieslandCampina BV. YM, GM, EvdH, MK and KDC are grant holders.

Author contributions

Y.M., E.vdH., C.S.P., M.K. and K.D.C. contributed to the study design. G.M. and C.M. were responsible for data collection, management and statistical analyses. All authors contributed to the writing and revising of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

C.S.P. and E.vdH. are employees at FrieslandCampina. None of the other authors have any potential conflict of interest to declare. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the current study are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of FrieslandCampina.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yannis Manios
    • 1
    Email author
  • George Moschonis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christina Mavrogianni
    • 1
  • EGHM van den Heuvel
    • 3
  • Cécile M. Singh-Povel
    • 3
  • Mairead Kiely
    • 4
    • 5
  • Kevin D. Cashman
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Science and EducationHarokopio UniversityAthensGreece
  2. 2.EnviNHealth S.A.AthensGreece
  3. 3.FrieslandCampinaAmersfoortthe Netherlands
  4. 4.Cork Centre for Vitamin D and Nutrition Research, School of Food and Nutritional SciencesUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  5. 5.The Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT)University College CorkCorkIreland
  6. 6.Department of MedicineUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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