Use mushrooms as your vitamin D supplement

For most of us, wintertime seems to last very long.  Every day is a step closer to the warmth, the singing birds, the lively nature, the long days, and the happiness of the summer period.

Myself, I feel the need to improve things in my daily life to give me that boost of endorphins and happiness. 

One of the factors that affect your mental state in winter is your vitamin D levels in the body. Vitamin D is also essential in many processes, including immune system function, bone health, reducing inflammation, metabolism, and neuromuscular function.1


Vitamin D


Do you need extra vitamin D in winter?

Vitamin D is produced by our bodies when sunlight touches our skin for some time.

If you have access to the strong sun all year round, then short daily sun exposures may be enough to get your vitamin D requirements.

However, if you live far north or south of the equator, your vitamin D levels will fluctuate depending on the season.

Due to the lack of sufficient sunlight, vitamin D levels will go down during the winter period.2


Recommended Daily Dose

The daily vitamin D intake should be around 400-800 IU/day or 10-20 micrograms.3

However, some studies suggest that higher doses of 1000-4000 IU (25-100 micrograms) are needed to maintain optimal blood levels in certain people. Factors such as skin color, BMI, and age can affect how efficiently we produce and absorb vitamin D from food.4, 5, 6


Sources of Vitamin D


Mushrooms vitamin D


Easily Increase Vitamin D Content in Mushrooms 

Mushrooms contain some vitamin D. However when you buy mushrooms at the supermarket, the vitamin D is quite low (1 ug per 100 g). 

Mushrooms are like us; they just need sunlight to produce vitamin D.

Mushrooms contain ergosterol, a vitamin D2 precursor, which when exposed to UV radiation, is converted into Vitamin D2. 

By placing mushrooms in the sunlight for 20 mins, they increase Vitamin D levels to 10 ug per 100 grams (10 times more!), which is about the daily requirement in many countries.7

You can then keep these mushrooms in the fridge and they will retain the vitamin D levels for about a week.8

It is important to mention that most of the synthesized vitamin D in mushrooms is D2, although they also contain D3 and D4.8 Despite vitamin D3 being more efficient in raising vitamin D levels in the blood, research shows that vitamin D2 from mushrooms is also absorbed by the body.9


Final thoughts

Paying attention to how much vitamin D you consume through diet only becomes relevant when you don't have regular access to sunlight.

Then you may consider taking vitamin D supplements or focus on optimizing your nutrition, especially if you are plant-based.

Next time you buy mushrooms, leave them for 20 mins in the sunlight to increase the vitamin D levels.

Eating at least 100 g of these vitamin D-boosted mushrooms will give you the daily vitamin D you need without supplementation

However, if you are deficient in vitamin D, you need to take bigger doses of vitamin D3 levels (by supplementation), and only eating mushrooms may not be enough.