Bulletin No.


Document Type



Dairy Department


Milk still retains its enviable rating as our most nearly perfect food. It ranks alone as a superior food for infants, and is by no means of minor significance in the adequate nutrition of older children and adults. However, even with a liberal supply of milk, the problem of proper nutrition is not a simple one. A study of our public health statistics, and a consideration of the various factors stimulating refined nutritional research bear abundant evidence of the fact that our knowledge and practice of the science of nutrition is not as yet all that might be desired. The place of vitamins in nutrition constitutes one of the important fields which is being studied. Research in this connection has shown that vitamin D is concerned with the proper retention and utilization of calcium and phosphorous in the building of strong bones and good teeth. A deficiency of this factor contributes to the improper mineralization of bones and results in the disease known as rickets. Borovsky (1933) has recently stated, "that rickets is the most common nutritional disease of childhood, variously estimated as present to some degree in 50 to 97 per cent of all infants is unhesitatingly admitted by all pediatricians." If this condition is to be improved upon, adequate amounts of vitamin D must be furnished to those most susceptible to rickets together with a diet that supplies a liberal amount of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D has a very limited distribution among our common, natural food products. Milk, certain milk products, and eggs are about the only ones containing appreciable amounts, so the ordinary diet is likely to contribute but little to the supply of this factor. The normal supply of calcium and phosphorus in cow's milk makes this product of particular interest as one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D, for it simultaneously furnishes the minerals and the vitamin to assist in their proper retention and utilization in the body. The fact that milk often makes up a large part, if not all, of the diet of the child during the time when it is most susceptible to rickets, indicates the importance of a knowledge of the factors influencing the amount of vitamin D in milk and its efficacy in preventing and curing rickets, and in promoting the adequate nutrition of the older child and adults. It is the purpose of this bulletin to discuss some of the information available on these topics and to present the results of experimental work bearing on certain phases of the problem.


vitamin d, milk nutrition



Publication Date









South Dakota Experiment Station, South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts