Mushrooms

Good news for vegetarians (and mushroom lovers): Mushrooms that contain vitamin D2 can be just as beneficial as supplementing with vitamin D supplements, cites new research.

Researchers out of Boston University School of Medicine found that mushroom powder rich in vitamin D raised blood plasma levels of vitamin D as effectively as taking a vitamin D2 or D3 supplement.

The study followed 30 adults given capsules of either vitamin D2 (2,000 IUs), D3 (2,000 IUs) or mushroom extract (2,000 IUs) once a day for 12 weeks and found that 25 of the subjects’ D levels were similar whether they had consumed vitamin D supplements or the mushrooms.

“We found ingesting mushrooms containing vitamin D2 was as effective in raising and maintaining a healthy adult’s vitamin D status as ingesting a supplement that contained either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3,” according to lead study author Dr. Michael Holick and reported in NutraIngredients.com. “These results provide evidence that ingesting mushrooms which have been exposed to ultraviolet light and contain vitamin D2, are a good source of vitamin D that can improve the vitamin D status of healthy adults.”

Vitamin D is found in a small percentage of foods—mainly meat and dairy products, as well as mushrooms. It’s also commonly fortified into foods including orange juice. And while it can be synthesized from exposure to sunlight, it’s not always easy for the body to do, especially in the winter. Vegetarians, who rely solely on sun exposure for vitamin D can develop deficiencies, making the research on mushrooms promising.

Deficiencies in vitamin D can often go without symptoms but can lead to bone loss and cognitive issues.

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