Are Mushrooms a Good Source of Vitamin D? Your Questions Answered

Posted by Ally Manolis on

If you’re living somewhere that is currently going through the yearly plague of winter storms, below-freezing temps, chapped and dry skin, and frozen pipes, you may be searching for new ways to get that sweet, sweet vitamin D in your system.

Often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D is naturally produced within our bodies when we are exposed to sunlight, which is why so many of us often feel sluggish and sad during the dark and cold winter season. Luckily, there are tons of ways to get the vitamin D your body is craving without subjecting yourself to ice-cold temps.

While some people resort to UV lamps or daily supplements, others are turning to the only non-animal source of vitamin D available: mushrooms.


Sunlight mushroom vitamin D


Do mushrooms contain vitamin D?

While seafood, eggs, beef liver, and fortified foods all contain vitamin D, vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can all reap the benefits of mushrooms’ high dose of the sunshine vitamin.

While animal products contain vitamin D3, mushrooms contain D2, however, science says they aren’t much different. Although vitamin D3 tends to stick around in the body for a bit longer than D2, they are both great ways of supplying your body with the D supplement it needs.

Mushrooms get their vitamin D the same way that humans do. When they sit under UV rays, they absorb sunlight. Their fruit bodies begin converting the provitamin chemical ergosterol into an active and usable form of vitamin D2, which we can then absorb when we ingest mushrooms.


Agaricus brown button mushrooms criminis


If many commercial mushrooms are grown in the dark, how do they get their vitamin D?

Not all commercial mushrooms are grown in the dark, although many do. Really, the most important factors needed to grow healthy mushrooms are special houses with ventilation systems.

At Alchemi Mushrooms, our Immune Shield daily capsules contain vitamin D from the pure organic mushrooms that we grow on our family farms. To ensure our mushrooms are filled with vitamin D, we run our fresh-picked mushrooms under UV lights to convert ergosterol to vitamin D. The longer we expose our mushrooms, the more vitamin D they create.

To get the most natural vitamin D for our supplements, we use traditional white button mushroom powder. White button mushrooms convert sunlight into vitamin D about two times faster and more efficiently than brown criminis and portobellos, which make them a perfect addition to our supplements.


How does vitamin D affect us?

Vitamin D is vital to our body’s ability to remain healthy and strong. The most familiar way that vitamin D works in our system is by helping us absorb the calcium that is in the foods that we eat. It also helps our body reject the release of the parathyroid hormone. Both a lack of calcium and the presence of the parathyroid hormone can make our bones thin and fragile.

Children who lack vitamin D in their diet can develop rickets or osteomalacia, both of which soften and distort growing bones. Similarly, elderly people who are experiencing vitamin D deficiency are more prone to falling due to a lack of muscle strength.

Some studies have shown that the lack of vitamin D can cause depression. In one specific scientific study, researchers ​​screened 1,282 adults aged between 65-95 for depression symptoms. The results showed that 26 of the study participants had major depression and 169 had minor depression. After they ran blood tests on the subjects who were experiencing symptoms of depression, they found that more than a third of the men and more than half of the women in the trial were vitamin D deficient.


Can mushrooms absorb vitamin D after they are picked?

 Mushrooms and sunlight for high vitamin D


Don’t stress if you can’t find mushrooms in your local grocery store that are labeled “high in vitamin D” or “UV exposed”. Interestingly enough, you can give the mushrooms you buy a vitamin D treatment from the comfort of your home.

Whether your mushrooms have been sliced or dried, you can infuse them with vitamin D by simply putting them out in the sun or under a UV lamp. Make sure you place your mushrooms gill-side up or sliced in 15 minutes of direct sunlight. This should be enough time for you to dose your mushrooms with enough beneficial vitamin D.


Which mushrooms contain the most vitamin D?

There are some studies that suggest that some mushrooms are more susceptible to absorbing vitamin D than others, however, the science is still relatively new. For now, continue infusing your mushrooms on your own or purchasing Alchemi Mushroom’s Immune Shield capsules if you can’t find the right mushrooms on your store’s shelves.

Check out our products here to reap the natural benefits of functional and medicinal mushrooms daily.

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