Vitamin D3 Research


donated by Herpetofauna


Vitamin D is essential for the growth and overall health of many animals. A lack of vitamin D can lead to a variety of diseases, such as deformities, trembling toes and the development of inflammation. These symptoms have a major impact on animal welfare. A few years ago, a study showed that growing bearded dragons, under the influence of a UV lamp, produce enough vitamin D themselves to prevent the above symptoms. Among other things, this research has led to better advice regarding the use of UV lamps in bearded dragons, which has greatly reduced problems due to vitamin D deficiency and animal welfare has improved.

However, it is still unclear for most species of reptiles and amphibians whether they indeed produce vitamin D under the influence of UV radiation. If we can find out which animals benefit from UV radiation, we can improve recommendations for the use of UV lamps to reduce vitamin D problems in that way.

That is why the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University is conducting research into the production of vitamin D in the skin of reptiles and amphibians under the influence of UV radiation. This research is a collaboration between the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (B&C) and the Department of Pathology. Their aim is to gain more knowledge about the vitamin D metabolism of reptiles and amphibians in order to determine which species should be exposed to UV radiation. Collecting this knowledge can hopefully contribute to improving animal welfare and the prevention of possible diseases.

The Herpetofauna Foundation provides the necessary animals during the research and hopes that this will allow a large number of animals to be examined in order to collect as much information as possible.