Vegan Vitamin D: All You Need to Know as a Vegan and Vegetarian
BY TERRASEED / September 28, 2021
There are many misconceptions when it comes to supplementation of vitamin D on a vegan diet. Because of the amount of information going around, it can be hard to determine which of these sources are truly reliable. You might be wondering: what are the vegan and vegetarian sources of vitamin D? What does vitamin D3 mean, and where does it come from? And finally, what vegetarian and vegan vitamin D supplements could you take? To clear the air regarding this topic, we are going to share with you some information that we believe to be crucial.
Vitamin D is in charge of absorbing calcium and phosphorus from food, which in turn helps to maintain healthy and strong bones. Moreover, vitamin D is a key nutrient for brain development, heart function, the immune system, and mental health. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to weak and brittle bones, increased autoimmune issues and a higher risk of developing infections, and a greater risk of depression.
So where can I find this nutrient?
There are two main sources of vitamin D: sunlight and diet.
The easiest and most effective way to get this nutrient is sunlight. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, your body then converts cholesterol into vitamin D. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), exposing your face, arms, legs, or back to sunlight for 5–30 minutes twice a week can supply all the vitamin D you need. However, there is a catch: not everyone gets the same amount of direct sunlight exposure, as it depends on your geographical location, the season, time of day, and degree of pollution or smog, as well as your age, skin color, and sunscreen use.
Is there a vegan vitamin D source?
Regarding diet as a main source, yes, it is true, a huge amount of vitamin D's intake comes from animal sources. But there are many sources of this vitamin that are vegan-friendly, such as fortified plant-based milks, leafy greens, mushrooms, fortified cereals and tofu. As for Terraseed’s multivitamin supplement, the vitamin D3 used is sourced from wild-crafted reindeer lichen (not a reindeer, just a form of lichen). Lichen is a plant species related to fungus and algae, and is a natural source of D3 with no negative effects on the environment, found in abundance on mountainsides, rocks and trees.
Despite all, taking in sufficient amounts of vitamin D can be difficult, even for people who aren’t vegan, as a study found that 41.6 percent of Americans may be deficient in vitamin D. Therefore, many people (vegans and non-vegans alike) benefit from supplements.
The main forms of vitamin D are D3 and D2, both perform the same role in the body, but the former usually derives from animal sources (such as sheep's wool), while the latter derives from plant sources. Although neither of them can be considered better than the other, studies have found that D3 is more effective in rising vitamin D levels, as the liver metabolizes vitamin D2 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and vitamin D3 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, which are collectively known as calcifediol. In short, D3 has been proven to raise calcifediol in blood levels in a more significant way than D2. Terraseed’s formula is unique as it includes D3 from lichen in the form of cholecalciferol, which is more potent than D2 and also vegan-friendly!
Nevertheless, some facts that can help you increase your absorption of vitamin D intake are that this nutrient is best absorbed when taken with the largest meal of the day or a meal high in fat. Many studies suggest that consuming a source of fat alongside vitamin D improves absorption.
So, if you are struggling to maintain a healthy diet with an adequate intake of vitamin D, especially when sticking to a vegan diet, it is important to follow these guidelines. Luckily, if this still isn’t enough, you can always resort to vegan vitamin D supplements. Terraseed's capsule contains 50 mcg, which completely satisfies your recommended daily amount of vitamin D.