- Mushrooms naturally provide vitamin D
- Vitamin D is produced by the mushroom through the action of sunlight or ultra-violet (UV) light
- SA Mushrooms use a special pulsed light after the mushroom has been harvested. Less than a second of this light stimulates the mushroom to produce your daily needs of vitamin D (10 mcg in a 100g serve)
- SA Mushrooms now produce Vitamin D Mushrooms – a tasty and affordable way to get all your vitamin D needs each day
All mushrooms will naturally produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight or ultra-violet (UV) light.
Cultivated mushrooms that you buy at the greengrocer or supermarket provide a modest amount of vitamin D despite being able to grow in the dark. Mushroom farmers can now boost the vitamin D level by exposing them to a couple of seconds of a special lamp that naturally triggers the mushrooms to produce even more vitamin D.
All the farmer is doing is mimicking the action of sunlight. In fact, if you place your mushrooms in the sun, they will immediately start making extra vitamin D. A 2013 study by Applied Horticultural Research, at the University of Sydney, showed that placing mushrooms for an hour in the direct midday winter sun stimulated them to produce 10 mcg of D, the amount most adults need each day. A similar effect can happen with 15 minutes of sunshine exposure in summer.
Regular Retail Mushrooms
In 2015, the Australian government laboratory analysed mushrooms taken from the supermarket shelves in five capital cities, including Adelaide. Your regular everyday mushrooms have an average of 2.3 mcg D per serve, which is 23% of your daily requirements. Any measurement over 10% of your daily needs in a serve is pretty good for a nutrient, so to find a high level of D in mushrooms is quite special. The results of that study can be seen here.
Vitamin D Mushrooms
To boost the vitamin D content of mushrooms further, they are exposed to a very short burst of light (less than a second), which is all they need to work their magic. Mushrooms exposed to light at the farm after they have been harvested are labelled ‘Vitamin D Mushrooms’ and provide at least 10 micrograms of vitamin D per serve (100g or 3 medium mushrooms). SA Mushrooms are now at the forefront of producing Vitamin D Mushrooms and they are available at selected stores such as Foodland, IGA and other independent greengrocers.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Why are Vitamin D Mushrooms so important? Vitamin D is needed for normal absorption of calcium and therefore important in a healthy bone structure. Vitamin D is also critical in a healthy immune system, and healthy muscles and teeth. Unfortunately, nearly one in four Australians (23%; four million adults) are deficient in vitamin D with serum 25(OH)D below 50 nmol/L (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014). Vitamin D deficiency is higher than average in 18-34 year olds (31%) and during winter compared to summer (36% vs 14%).
The best ways to get adequate vitamin D is through sun exposure and eating foods rich in vitamin D. Many people cannot get sufficient sun exposure during the middle of the day because they are working inside or need to cover up for cultural or religious reasons. In that case supplements and foods are the best way to get your vitamin D.
Food Sources of Vitamin D
There are very few foods that provide vitamin D in the Australian diet. They are: oily fish, eggs, table margarine, meat and some D-fortified foods such as some cows’ milk and soy beverages. Now there is another tasty option: Vitamin D Mushrooms grown locally by SA Mushrooms. One 100g serve will provide your daily vitamin D needs, which is 10 micrograms.
Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian
7 June 2017