Vitamin D is essential for health. It helps the body absorb calcium and is a very important part of the immune system. When skin is exposed to sunlight, the body produces vitamin D. It can also be obtained by vegan sources of fortified foods such as rice, soy milk, orange juice and vegetables like kale and mushrooms.
You can increase the levels of Vitamin D in mushrooms by exposing them to sunlight.
Here is how to do it:
1. Obtain fresh organic shiitake, maitake, button, oyster, shimeji or other mushrooms.
2. On a sunny day in June, July or August, slice the fresh mushrooms. Place them evenly on a tray exposed directly to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3. Before nightfall, cover the mushrooms with a layer of cardboard to block moisture from dewfall.
4. The next clear day repeat exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
5. Remove the mushrooms and finish drying (if necessary in a food dehydrator until they are crispy).
6. When thoroughly dry, store in a glass jar or sealed container. Adding a tablespoon of uncooked rice as a moisture absorber will help keep the mushrooms dry. The mushrooms should be good for a year or more, depending upon conditions.
7. Take 10 grams daily per person, about a small handful. Rehydrate in water for one hour. The mushrooms will swell. Then cook as desired.
How much of the vitamin D from consuming mushrooms makes it into the bloodstream? Comparing 26 people who took a vitamin D2 supplement to 26 others ingesting vitamin D-enriched mushrooms four times per week for five weeks, researchers at the University Medical Center in Frieburg, Germany found that the serum levels of vitamin D were similar. They used button mushrooms exposed to UV light that resulted in 20,000 IU/100 grams fresh weight. Subjects ingested 120 grams fresh (?24,000 IU) of vitamin D-enriched mushrooms, which is about a quarter of a pound, roughly a handful. The results showed similar levels of vitamin D were absorbed in the blood in both groups: Those who ingested a supplement in pill form and those who put freshly-cooked mushrooms in soup. At the end of the study, both groups’ serum vitamin D levels increased to ~50 nmol/L, which is considered to be a healthy baseline level. A general consensus amongst many health care practitioners is that you need to replenish your vitamin D so blood serum levels are between 50 and 125 nmol/L of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Care should be taken to avoid over-supplementation, as serum levels over 125 nmol/L can be hazardous (see chart).
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