4 Vegan Vitamin D Sources

4 Vegan Vitamin D Sources

It might be quite a challenge to ensure sufficient vegan vitamin D consumption. But, the fact is that we require a daily intake of this essential substance. It is rarely found in vegan foods, though. Fortunately, there are a few alternative sources of it.

To start, vegan vitamin D is necessary for our bodies to absorb calcium, without which the bones would soften and become brittle, causing bone diseases such as osteomalacia. Daily vitamin D intake is 5 mcg (0.005 mg) for people whose age is below 50 years, and 10 mcg (0.01 mg) for those whose age is ranging between 50 and 70. As mentioned, vitamin D is mostly found in animal products, which sets a challenge for vegans who exclude animal products from their diet because of health or ethical reasons. Fortunately, you can provide your organism with this vitamin choosing other sources of it.

1. Plant Foods: Mushrooms and Yeast

Vitamin D is almost never found in plant foods. However, UV-irradiated mushrooms and yeast are an exception.

2. Fortified Foods

Vitamin D is often added to regular dairy products. But, since dairy is not an option for vegans, you could opt for fortified vegan foods. Consider including the following fortified foods in your diet:

  • Rice and soy milk: one cup contains 2mcg of vitamin D
  • Margarine: there are 1.275 mcg of vitamin D in 2 tablespoons
  • Orange juice: 1.125 mcg in 1.5 cups of juice

These products, often consumed by vegans and vegetarians, are a good alternative source of Vitamin D. Read the labels carefully, since not all brands that specialize in, for example, soy food, offer fortified products. When purchasing vegan margarine, make sure it doesn't contain such dairy derivatives as lactose, whey, caseinate and casein.

3. Sunlight

Our bodies have an ability to produce vitamin D in the skin. This happens when the skin is exposed to the sunlight. Staying in the sun (with your skin exposed) for 15 minutes a day is enough to obtain a daily norm of vitamin D3. However, this might not be an option for those who don't have an opportunity to walk or sunbath outdoors every day, especially in peak hours of sun activity. People who live at Northern latitude areas might considerably lack the sun exposure. In this case other alternatives, such as fortified foods or supplements could be an option.

4. Supplements

You can solve the problem of lack of vitamin D by including it into your diet in a form of natural supplement. Beware that vitamin D is fat-soluble, that's the reason why it is often packaged in form of gelatin capsules. Gelatin, in turn, is derived from animals' bones and skin. To avoid consuming animal derivatives, opt for vitamin D which is sold in form of tablets or liquids.

As you can see, one might need some creativity to ensure sufficient vitamin D consumption, but it shouldn't be difficult. Remember to read the labels carefully when you shop for fortified foods and supplements. And, of course, enjoy the sun if you have the opportunity.