Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, as it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. It also plays a critical role in muscle function, immune system support, and mood regulation. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of various health conditions. This article discusses why vegans are more prone to vitamin D deficiency and ways to fulfil vitamin D requirements with a vegan diet.
Are vegans more prone to vitamin D deficiency?
A vegan diet eliminates any type or form of animal products from the diet. Vegans may be more prone to vitamin D deficiency because vitamin D is primarily found in animal-based foods such as oily fish, egg yolks, and liver. While it is possible to get vitamin D from plant-based sources such as fortified foods like certain cereals, plant-based milk, and some mushrooms, the amounts can be quite low if you do not follow a properly balanced diet.
Also, factors such as geographic location, season, time of day, and skin pigmentation can affect how much vitamin D the body produces from sunlight. Therefore, it can be challenging for vegans who live in areas with limited sunlight to get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone.
How to suffice for vitamin D requirements with veganism?
Vegans can increase their vitamin D intake by eating vitamin D-fortified foods, taking vitamin D supplements, or spending time in the sun (while being mindful of the risks of sun exposure and skin cancer).
It isn’t okay to ignore even a slight deficiency of vitamin D. If you are a vegan and you do not consume non-vegetarian foods and milk products, you can still get your required amount of vitamin D. Mushrooms, Soy Milk, Almond Milk, and fortified orange juice are some of the foods that include a high amount of vitamin D.
A brief list of various vegan foods that are good sources of vitamin D is given below:
|FOOD||SERVING||VITAMIN D (IU)|
|Maitake mushrooms **||1 cup, diced||786|
|Portobello mushrooms **||1 cup, sliced||634|
|Soy milk, original, fortiﬁed with vitamin D||1 cup||120*|
|Almond milk, original, fortiﬁed with vitamin D||1 cup||100*|
|Chanterelle mushrooms, raw**||1 cup||114|
|Orange juice, fortiﬁed with vitamin D||1 cup||100*|
|Soy yogurt, fortiﬁed with vitamin D||150 grams||80*|
|Ready-to-eat cereal, fortiﬁed with vitamin D||¾ – 1 cup||40*|
Remember, it is essential to monitor vitamin D levels through blood tests and consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate level of supplementation.
**Exposing mushrooms to UV light causes measurable increases in the vitamin D2 content; amount of vitamin D2 will vary depending on the type of light and duration of exposure.
*May vary depending on product.
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