Vitamin D from Mushrooms
Eating mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight and contain vitamin D2 may be as effective at increasing and maintaining serum vitamin D levels as taking supplemental vitamin D2 or vitamin D3, according to research from Boston University School of Medicine. These findings appear online in Dermato-Endocrinology.
Vitamin D, also called the sunshine vitamin, is important for maintaining bone health and muscle strength. When present in adequate amounts, it helps maintain bone density and reduces the risk of fracture, weak bones, and osteoarthritis. This nutrient also plays a role in modulating the immune system and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and depression.
The study involved 30 healthy adults who were randomly assigned to take capsules containing vitamin D2, vitamin D3 or mushroom powder containing vitamin D2 once a day for 12 weeks during the winter. Baseline serum vitamin D or 25(OH)D levels were measured, as well as at the end of treatment.
The results showed that serum 25(OH)D levels among all groups gradually rose and stabilized at seven weeks until the next five weeks. On the 12th week, they found that serum 25(OH)D levels did not differ significantly from participants who received vitamin D2 in mushroom powder.
Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, the principal investigator, states that their results provide evidence that ingesting mushrooms which contain vitamin D2 can improve the vitamin D status of healthy adults and it may be as effective taking a vitamin D2 or D3 supplement.
In another presentation, the researchers showed how mushrooms make vitamin D2 in a process is similar to what happens in the human skin after sun exposure. They also found that mushrooms can also produce vitamin D3 and D4, making them a good natural food source for vitamin D that is available in the local grocery store.
Boston University Medical Center. Mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements. ScienceDaily.