Happy As A Lichen In The Sunshine: Vitamin D3 And The Vegan Diet

Maintaining a special diet can be hard. Getting the nutrients and vitamins your body needs in order to remain healthy can be particularly challenging for someone with food restrictions such as a vegan, gluten-free, or paleo diet. However, the right vitamin intake is vital to your physical, mental, and emotional health. So how is a person who eats a vegan diet supposed to get enough vitamin D3, since it is most commonly found in meat? Here is a closer look at the relationship between this important vitamin and your vegan lifestyle.

More than just a vitamin.

Vitamin D3 is more than just a vitamin. It acts as a hormone in your body and helps you to regulate your blood levels of calcium and other nutrients. Also, a deficiency of vitamin D3 can lead to fatigue and has been linked to depression. Because of this, it is important to get plenty of vitamin D3, especially if you are following a vegan diet.

Vitamins and veggies.

The vegan diet poses a particular challenge to getting enough vitamin D3. This is because most sources of vitamin D3 found in food are from meat sources such as fish, liver, and fatty oils. Even fortified juice, almond milk and tofu often use sheep's wool as a source of vitamin D3. It is possible for people to get vitamin D from mushrooms that have been exposed to ultra-violet light. The problem is, plants like mushrooms only produce vitamin D2. D2 is similar to D3, but it is not as easily absorbed by humans, and it is somewhat less efficient at binding to vitamin D receptors. 

Keep on the sunny side.

Fortunately, many people are able to get the vitamin D3 that they need from a great source: the sun. Your body produces vitamin D3 when it is exposed to the sun. There are a couple of problems with this, though. One is that excessive sun exposure can lead to sunburn and skin cancer. The other is that if you have a dark complexion, you may be less efficient at absorbing vitamin D3 on your own, because the natural pigment in your skin blocks some of the sun's effects.

Mutant moss supplements.

For vegans who need to up their vitamin D3 intake, there is another solution. Recently, a D3 supplement has been created that uses neither plant nor animal sources for D3. Instead, this type of supplement uses lichens. Lichens are truly remarkable organisms. They are actually a cross between a fungus and an algae. This moss-like organism makes both vitamins D2 and D3 and is now available in supplement form. 

Getting your recommended daily allowance of vitamin D3 is important, even if you follow a strict vegan diet. By using a combination of lichens and sunshine, your can keep your body healthy and happy. For more information about vitamin supplements, contact a company like Do Vitamins.