Vegan Diet And Vitamin D: Everything You Need To Know
Starting off with ‘what is it and where can I find it?’ We’ve broken down what you need to know about Vitamin D and how vegans can ensure they get enough of it.
What is vitamin D and why do we need it?
Vitamin D helps the body absorb and regulate calcium and is integral to healthy bone, muscle and teeth development. According to Public Health England, almost a quarter of adults in the UK aged between 19 and 65 do not get enough vitamin D, regardless of following a vegan diet or not.
Where do we naturally get it from?
We predominantly get vitamin D from sunlight on our skin, typically between March-September in the UK, where the days are longer and there is generally more sunlight. However, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to get vitamin D from elsewhere as most of us have been inside for these crucial months. We can also find vitamin D in some of the foods we eat, and in supplements.
Can you get vitamin D in vegan food?
Getting enough vitamin D is slightly harder as a vegan, as it is naturally found in animal products like eggs, oily fish, and red meat. However, it’s completely possible, as there are a few vegan foods that can be good sources of vitamin D.
Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable you can find in supermarkets that is a natural source of Vitamin D. Maitake and Portobello mushrooms are among the types of mushrooms that contain the highest amount, so look out for either in your next grocery shop. As mushrooms are a staple in a vegan diet, used to make other plant-based foods such as vegan meats, it can be easily incorporated into the vegan lifestyle.
Cow’s milk is fortified with vitamins including vitamin D, and so this has been replicated in vegan milks to ensure vegans also receive high enough levels of the crucial vitamins. Your favourite brands like Alpro, Koko and Oatly are fortified and enriched with vitamin D.
Vegan cereals like Shredded Wheat, Special K and Weetabix are both vegan and are fortified with vitamin D.
Lots of orange juices, ranging from store-bought and branded juices are fortified with vitamin D, such as Tropicana.
Should I take supplements?
If you aren’t sure whether you are getting enough vitamin D in your diet, it is a good idea to use supplements, like this plant-based supplement from Myvegan. A lot of naturally occurring sources of vitamin D are found in animal products, and still a quarter of the population, vegans and omnivores alike, do not get enough vitamin D in their diet. Additionally, it is advised by the NHS that everyone should take vitamin supplements, particularly women breastfeeding, children under four, and those with darker skin, mainly Black and Asian ethnic minorities, who may not get enough vitamin D from the sun alone. Talk to your GP or nutritionist if you have any concerns or questions.
By Toni Olukiran
Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.