A team of scientists may have just unlocked a new way to get your daily dose of vitamin D: gene-edited tomatoes.

Why it matters: According to a 2018 study published in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science, vitamin D deficiency is becoming an “epidemic” among Americans, with up to 42% of Americans lacking vitamin D, per Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital.

  • Vitamin D-infused tomatoes can help provide essential vitamins and nutrients to a wide array of people with dietary restrictions, who can’t get the vitamin from typical sources like fish and dairy.

What they’re saying: Guy Poppy, ecology professor at the University of Southampton, said, “Gene-editing tomatoes to accumulate provitamin D3 at levels above recommended dietary guidelines could result in better health for many especially as tomatoes are a widely accessible and readily eaten food,” reports The Guardian.

  • While you can always take a vitamin D supplement, John Innes Centre professor Cathie Martin argues that eating a tomato is much more beneficial to overall health.
  • “We don’t eat enough fruit and veg anyway. A tomato is a good source of vitamin C as well,” Martin said at a news briefing, according to CNN Health.
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Details: New Scientist reports that eating just two of the modified tomatoes a day would meet your daily vitamin D needs.

  • The amount of provitamin D3 in the new gene-edited tomato would be the same amount as one ounce of tuna or two medium-size eggs, according to CNN Health.
  • The tomatoes were created by making small alterations to an existing tomato gene using an editing technique called Crispr-Cas9, per The Guardian.
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