Mushrooms may be good source of vitamin D

Vitamin D has many known benefits. A new study shows that there may be a natural and tasty way for individuals to get this nutritional supplement.

Finding a means beside sun exposure to attain sufficient levels of vitamin D may be helpful. The American Academy of Dermatology notes that ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause skin cancer to develop. Therefore, finding an alternative source of the vitamin that is part of a healthy diet could be advantageous.

Mushrooms may be a vitamin D source
Boston University Medical Center found that eating mushrooms with vitamin D2 may effectively help increase vitamin D levels as much as taking a supplement of vitamin D2 or vitamin D3.

Researchers claim that mushrooms absorb vitamin D similarly to how human skin does – by being exposed to ultraviolet light. Therefore, any mushrooms that grow under the sun likely attain this nutrient. Additionally, according to the study, these mushrooms produce vitamin D3 and vitamin D4 when exposed to UVB rays.

During the study, researchers surveyed 30 healthy adults. Different members of the study group either took capsules with 2000 International Units of vitamin D2, 2000 IU of vitamin D3 or 2000 IU of mushroom powder. This mushroom extract contained vitamin D2. The participants took these pills once a day.

The results showed that all the participants, whether taking a regular nutritional supplement or a mushroom-based pill, had the same vitamin D levels. In all three groups, the vitamin D levels increased gradually then remained level after seven weeks. Five weeks later, the participants maintained these vitamin levels.

“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,” Michael Holick, Ph.D., lead investigator of the study, said.

Vitamin D may benefit women
Beside the general health benefits of vitamin D, the nutrient may help women reduce their risk of getting uterine fibroids. The National Institutes of Health recently published a study noting that women who maintained adequate levels of vitamin D decreased their chance of developing fibroids – benign tumors on the uterus – by 32 percent.

“This study adds to a growing body of literature showing the benefits of vitamin D,” Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences said.

By potentially maintaining substantial levels of vitamin D through a healthy diet that includes mushrooms, individuals may be able to experience these health benefits.

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