Michael Holick, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the Boston University School of Medicine report that eating mushrooms with vitamin D2 can be as effective at increasing vitamin D status as taking vitamin D2 or D3.
The researchers randomized 30 healthy adults to take either 2000 IU capsules of traditionally-made vitamin D2, 2000 IU vitamin D3 or 2000 IU of vitamin D2 made from irradiated mushrooms. The mushrooms were then finely chopped and placed in capsules. The participants supplemented once daily for 12 weeks during winter months.
The authors found that baseline 25(OH)D levels were not significantly different among the different supplementation groups. Vitamin D status among the 3 groups gradually increased for 7 weeks when levels plateaued and remained stable for the remaining 5 weeks.
“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,” said Dr Holick.
The authors also report that they were able to determine how mushrooms make vitamin D2. They explain that the process is fairly similar to what occurs in human skin after sun exposure. They also report that mushrooms have the ability to produce not only vitamin D2, but also vitamin D3 and D4.
Note that despite these findings, the Vitamin D Council still recommends use of vitamin D3 over vitamin D2. Please see our page, “How do I get the vitamin D my body needs?” for more information on supplementing with vitamin D.
Researchers discover mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements. EurekAlert. April 22, 2013.
D2 works well for mushrooms, and the patent chemical industry, i.e.big pharma, It does not work well in animals. Animals require D3, period.
Why someone would do a study like this is beyond me unless they had grant money sitting around that had to be used.
I use D3, as I still think that the human body will utilize it better than D2.
But, Holick does good research, and he found 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….[and that] 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…”
I am on a mission to end this Vitamin D pandemic. If D2 can help in any way…even by causing big pharma to push $$$ into further D research…I am not totally opposed to this…
At my institution (of higher learning), there are researchers who would be open to studying D…but NIH won’t fund (so I am told).
@bacullen…I keep a flexible mind…and I am open to your further thoughts…
or, join me on my VDC FB page mission to end this pandemic.
Find me on the VDC FB page and send me a FB friend request!
@bacullen As a veterinarian I am interested in your comment that animals need D3 full stop. Can you supply any data on this please. In CAFO systems UV is missing and diet is only source thus animals could be losing out especially dairy cows. Probably 100,000IU/day is minimum in these situations. Frank Rowson. New Zealand
This is in stark contrast to previous findings:
Some media reports indicate that the mushrooms concerned have to be exposed to sun exposure at the time recommended for human sun exposure in the middle of the day in the summer.
I suppose this is valuable if you are unavailable to get naked at noon and choose your mushrooms instead.
It seems that the answer could be a vitamin D aware mushroom producer who will do the job for you. I haven’t found one yet here in new Zealand.
I take my d3 supplement daily.
But, I do eat mushrooms, and I do expose them to midday sun so that they may indeed soak up their d…and create d2.
I always wonder, though, how long my little d2 mushrooms actually retain their d….and I do saute them…and so I also wonder if this process destroys the d that they’ve soaked up…
I’m a chemist and have been following the D2/D3 literature for ~20 yrs. D2 has an additional carbon and an unsaturation in the “tail” of the molecule when compared to D3.
Though I can’t offer specific references, the literature has been quite clear that D2 does not have significant activity in birds and reptiles and that the activity in humans is about 40% of the activity of D3. What is being measured to define “activity”?
Since we now know that D regulates 100’s, if not more genes it is very difficult, if not impossible, to directly compare D2 to D3. So, for me, this leads to several questions:
Why would one take any D2 when all animals generate D3 on exposure to UVb?
What mushrooms grow in sunlight? (a few edible Agaricus species do occasionally so D2 generation may be a protective mechanism)
Since we evolved without sunblock why in the world would we use them, except possibly early in the season? The negative effects of low D3 and the numerous other UVb generated, possibly active compounds far outweighs the negative effects of UV exposure,
The idea of taking un-natural patent medicine D2 as opposed to D3 is similar to women being prescribed un-natural patented estrogen analogs vs. bioidentical estrogen. It may not be good for big pharma’s bottom line but it is a lot better for us.