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Can Mushrooms Provide You With Vitamin D?

Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide problem

Vitamin D deficiency affects around 1 billion people around the world with the additional fact that over 75% of Americans are vitamin D deficient.

A vitamin D blood level of at least 50ng/ml (125nmol/L) is recommended with the blood test for checking vitamin D levels called 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D).  However, it is difficult to overdose so higher levels will help with your health and wellbeing.

Ideally, to increase vitamin D levels, moderate and regular sun exposure is needed.  During the summer months, up to twenty minutes of regular exposure to as much skin between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm as possible will help with raising levels.  The darker the skin, the longer the exposure.

However, it is not possible for everyone to get outdoors regularly if their schedule or lifestyle prevents this then a vitamin D supplement is a great alternative.



There are two main types of vitamin D

The two types are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.  The former is generally plant-based by the latter is generally derived from sheepskin. 

The important thing to note is that vitamin D3 has been proven to be much more effective than vitamin D2 in both raising blood levels and improving health

There have been recent developments in the making of vitamin D3 supplements so that there are now ones that are plant-based too which are almost always labeled as such "plant-based” or “vegan.”

More about mushrooms being a source of vitamin D

In some mushrooms that are now available in certain health food stores, the vitamin D content is boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.  They also contain plant sterols that are able to convert UV light to vitamin D. Exposing mushrooms to as little as five minutes of UV light is believed to produce a substantial amount of vitamin D.

While mushrooms are typically grown indoors, many growers are beginning to grow them outdoors to take advantage of this — or they place the growing mushrooms under special lamps.

One study on this subject involved a single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in Europe that took place in the winter. They had the experimental group consume their vitamin D by means of 200 grams of irradiated mushrooms (28,000 IU [700 μg]) in a soup. They compared this to a placebo using non-irradiated mushrooms along with a group that received equal doses of a D2 supplement. The results confirmed that mushrooms were able to continually raise serum vitamin D levels in the body consistent with vitamin D2 supplementation.

However, the important thing to note from this is that only vitamin D2 was present in both the mushrooms and in the supplementation.  And as we pointed out earlier on...vitamin D3 has been proven to be much more effective than vitamin D2 in both raising vitamin D levels in the blood and improving health.

Obviously, there is no harm in using mushrooms in your diet to help with raising vitamin D levels but this should be in addition to sun exposure and/or vitamin D3 supplementation.

How much vitamin D3 should we take if supplementing?

Below are general recommendations for supplementing with vitamin D3 if you’re wondering how much vitamin D should I take:

  • Children aged five to ten - up to 2,500 units/day can usually be safely taken.
  • Adults/pregnant women/breast-feeding women: up to 5,000 units/day can be safely taken.

Over the years, I have raised my own levels considerably and with fairly regular testing, my current level is 80 ng/ml.

When it is summer, I spend a lot of time outdoors in the sunshine to keep my levels topped up.  During the winter months, I take a daily supplement of 8000 IUs of vitamin D 3 with a spoonful of grass fed butter or coconut oil (as vitamin D is fat soluble) together with magnesium and  vitamin K2 to help the vitamin D3 be absorbed.  I make sure I have calcium in my diet by including dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables and adding sesame seeds to my bowl of oatmeal.



Outila, T. A., Mattila, P .H., Piironen, V. I., & Lamberg-Allardt, C. J. Bioavailability of vitamin D from wild edible mushrooms (Cantharellus tubaeformis) as measured with a human bioassay. Am J Clin Nutr. January 1999;69(1), 95–98.

How To Get Your Vitamin D From Mushrooms - Center for Nutrition Studies

How Much Vitamin D Per Day Should I Take? - Dr. Axe (draxe.com)

9 Foods High in Vitamin D - Dr. Axe (draxe.com)