As many people know, vitamin D is crucial for bone health and immune function. Most of us produce the majority of this vitamin via sun exposure, but obtaining vitamin D in the winter months can be quite tricky. While supplements are always an option, there are actually many foods which are natural sources of vitamin D. New research indicates mushrooms may be able to help, and that hitting them with UV rays actually boosts their vitamin D content just like it does in our own skin.
UV light in the sun converts cholesterol in our skin into vitamin D. A similar process happens when mushrooms are exposed to UV light. And when we consume these fungi, we get the dietary boost of vitamin D that we may otherwise miss out on during cloudy or colder days.
“The exciting thing I think is how rapidly we can take a mushroom that has no vitamin D in it whatsoever, and in less than one second we can increase the vitamin D content to over 100 percent [of the recommended daily allowance],” said Michael Kalaras, a post-doctoral scholar at Penn State University.
This isn’t a brand new innovation, but one that isn’t talked about much. As a matter of fact, some facilities are employing the method on a massive scale, using UV lights over a conveyor belt of mushrooms.
Read: Vitamin D2 vs D3
Last year, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine found that the vitamin D in mushrooms is an excellent source, surpassing the effectiveness of many supplements.
Lead researcher Michael F. Holic, PhD. said:
“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. Furthermore 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.”
Further, their research indicated the mushrooms are also a good source of vitamins D3 and D4. Adequate vitamin D levels can not only increase bone strength and help immune function, but can decrease the risk of such diseases as cancer, depression, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Check out the many vitamin D health benefits, and learn which type of vitamin D is best.