How can you get vitamin D as a vegan? What type of vitamin D should vegans take?

Facts about vegans & vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D helps absorb calcium from the diet and is important for bone and teeth health.
  • Many people, not just vegans need to consider the importance of vitamin D
  • As with many nutrients, those following a vegan lifestyle need to carefully plan their meals to include sources of vitamin D.
  • Research indicates that vegans have a 30-37% higher fracture rate than meat-eaters and lacto-ovo vegetarians. [1]

What type of vitamin D?

  • There are two kinds of vitamin D used in supplements and food fortification: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), the vegan form, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the form derived from animals and/or fish.
  • Researchers estimate that vitamin D3 is approximately 1.7 to 3 times more potent than vitamin D2 (yeast/mushroom form).
  • Vitamin D2 breaks down in the body more quickly than vitamin D3, so those taking a vitamin D2 supplement may need to diligently follow a regular daily supplement routine (vs. taking their vitamin D supplement as a bolus dose). [2]
  • Most vitamin D supplement products in Canada, including traditional Ddrops®, contain vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) – derived from animals (usually from sheep lanolin).
  • Non-animal sourced vegan versions of vitamin D supplements (vitamin D2) can be more difficult to find! 

It’s not easy…

  • Sunlight on uncovered skin provides a natural supply of vitamin D. Skin pigmentation, age, cloud cover, time of year and northern latitudes make sunshine an inconsistent option for many people.[3]
  • With food sources, check your labels! Soy milk is fortified with vitamin D2, the vegan form of vitamin D, while cereals, juice, and margarine are more likely to be fortified with vitamin D3 derived from sheep’s wool
  • Dairy products made from milk, such as cheese and ice cream, are usually not suitable for a vegan diet and are also generally not fortified with vitamin D.[4]
  • Vitamin D fortification of milk alternatives like soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk and goat’s milk are not regulated.
  • In a Canadian study, children’s vitamin D blood levels dropped by 3% for each cup of non–cow’s milk beverage consumed.[5]
  • Mushrooms contain a vitamin D precursor ergosterol, and can contain some vitamin D2, but the amount varies depending on UV light exposure.
  • Edible mushrooms in most grocery stores, such as white button, crimini, portabella, are not likely to contain enough vitamin D2 (under 20 IU per 100 g) because they have been grown with limited UV light.[6]
  • Many gel capsules and gummy-style supplements contain gelatin, which is derived from animal sources, such as pork and beef.

Vegan Ddrops® are easy!

  • Each drop of Vegan Ddrops® contains vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) 1000 IU (25 mcg).
  • The vitamin D2 in Vegan Ddrops® is purified from nutritional yeast that is exposed to UV light.
  • Both Vegan Ddrops® and the traditional Ddrops® line contain a thin oil blend of purified components of coconut oil.
  • Vegan Ddrops® have no taste, so they can be licked off a clean surface or taken with any food or drink.
  • All Ddrops® contain no preservatives, no artificial flavours and no added colour.
  • All Ddrops® are wheat-free, gluten-free, corn-free, sugar-free, milk-free and peanut-free.
  • Vegan Ddrops® products can be easily taken with you wherever you go, as they do not require refrigeration.

 

[1] Appleby P, Roddam A, Allen N, Key T. Comparative fracture risk in vegetarians and nonvegetarians in EPIC-Oxford. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Dec;61(12):1400-6. Epub 2007 Feb 7.

[2] Weiler, H. Vitamin D. The Current State in Canada. Prepared for Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition August 2008. https://www.cfdr.ca/Downloads/CCFN-docs/Vitamin-D-Report—final—Aug3-08-revAug9-_2_.aspx

[3] Holick M. Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80(suppl):1678S-1688S.

[4] Vitamin D.  Fact sheet for Health Professionals. NIH Updated Feb 11 2016. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

[5] Lee et.al. Consumption of non–cow’s milk beverages and serum vitamin D levels in early childhood, CMAJ article: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/186/17/1287.full.pdf+html

[6] Feeney, MJ,  et al. MushroomsVBiologically Distinct and  Nutritionally Unique Exploring a “Third Food Kingdom”. Nutr Today. 2014 Nov; 49(6): 301–307. Published online 2014 Dec 11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4244211/