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.