What is Vitamin D and why is it important?
Before we dive in to sources, lets provide some background on this vital nutrient. Although it’s called “vitamin” D, it is actually a hormone that plays a key role in a wide variety of bodily functions. It helps us absorb calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, contributes to muscle development, helps regulate mood and balance mental health, and boosts your immune system, just to name a few.
Clearly, this is an extremely important nutrient for our overall health and wellbeing, so it may come as a shock that approximately 42% of Americans are vitamin D deficient! Those who follow a vegan diet tend to have even lower levels than the general population, as this dietary choice eliminates most of the top food sources of the nutrient including cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, and egg yolks.
To exacerbate the problem further, most people assume they get enough vitamin D through sun exposure. The reality is for much of the global population who live in higher latitudes, experience long winters, spend a lot of time indoors, or wear sunscreen, the scant amount of vitamin D they are producing naturally is not enough.
To address these low levels of vitamin D, people are turning to supplements, either in the form of fortified milks and cereals or more traditional tablets and capsules. Unfortunately, the source of the nutrient used to make these options is less than ideal.
Where is Vitamin D usually sourced from?
Most supplemental vitamin D is created through the ultraviolet irradiation of 7-dehydrocholesterol extracted from lanolin found in sheep's wool. Unfortunately, because of the environmental impact of raising sheep for food and byproducts, this source of the necessary vitamin is far from eco-friendly.
Over 602 million sheep are killed every year for animal agriculture. As you can imagine, feeding these animals, giving them water to drink, and managing their waste, all have major environmental impacts. Terraseed is always striving to bring you the best and most sustainable supplements on earth, and we knew there had to be a better way!
What is sustainable Vitamin D?
While the most sustainable source of vitamin D is sunlight, it is simply not enough to provide sufficient amounts of the nutrient. So, what is the next best thing?
The answer is Reindeer Lichen, a type of lichen that is prevalent in high latitudes all around the world. It is so named because it serves as pasture to not only reindeer, but also moose, caribou, and musk oxen.
Due to its natural abundance and the fact that it eliminates the need for animal agriculture to produce vitamin D, it is already a much more earth friendly option. By selecting a supplier who only collects pieces that have naturally fallen, rather than harvesting it from trees, we have been able to reduce the footprint of our sustainable vitamin D even further!
Why sustainable sourcing matters
Every product we buy came from somewhere, and each purchase is a vote for continuing to create the product. Every buying decision we make has an impact on the bigger picture, for better or for worse.
As global citizens, it is important that we take responsibility for our effect on the world around us. Companies have a much larger impact than individuals and therefore a larger share in the responsibility. By disrupting the supply chain by introducing better and more sustainable options, and educating people on the importance of sustainable sourcing, we hope to empower consumers to make better decisions that ultimately create a better world for us all!