Vegan D3: Apparently So

As promised in my post of July 29, Update: Vegan D3, I corresponded with Stephen Walsh, PhD of the UK Vegan Society about giving their seal of approval to the company Vitashine for vitamin D3.

Dr. Walsh said that they met with the company and that they were satisfied that the D3 in their product is vegan. Vitashine claims to get the D3 from lichen.

I then found a study that confirmed that at least some species of lichen grown in some locations contain vitamin D3:

Wang T, Bengtsson G, Kärnefelt I, Björn LO. Provitamins and vitamins D2 and D3 in Cladina spp. over a latitudinal gradient: possible correlation with UV levels. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2001 Sep 1;62(1-2):118-22. Abstract | PDF

The next logical question is whether vegans should go to the trouble of getting vitamin D3 instead of using vitamin D2. I would suggest that unless you are having problems raising your levels of vitamin D using D2, it is unnecessary.

One bit of advice I have is to take vitamin D with some fat to help increase absorption. I base this only on the fact that vitamin D is fat soluble – I do not know of any trials studying this.

98 Responses to “Vegan D3: Apparently So”

  1. REY Says:

    this comment is for Chris from Vitashine.
    From the comments here it seems the d3 spray has soy.
    My question is does the tablets also have soy?

  2. Isis Says:

    REY, the component in Vitashine that contains soy is the vitamin E, which is derived from soy, and it looks like all Vitashine products contain it, listed as D-Alpha Tocopherol.

  3. Luke Bucci Says:

    The Vitamin E in Vitashine D3 is NOT soy – it is the newer sunflower-derived source. I confirmed this with their US agents, who receive their information from the founding scientist at Vitashine/Vegetology.
    BTW, Nutralliance brokers AOM Argentinian nonGMO Brassic napus (rapeseed – some call it canola) Vitamin Es, from alpha to mixed tocopherols, as raw materials for products, that is standardized with sunflower oil.

  4. Isis Says:

    Thanks for letting us know that Vitashine now apparently uses sunflower-derived Vitamin E, Luke.

    I would welcome the Vitamin E not being made from soy anymore, but I was told by Chris from Vitashine that it is, and he’s not contradicted my concern here since. I believe that conversation occurred in another comment section elsewhere on this site. So I hope this information is accurate.

    I wish Vitashine would include these details in their ingredients list, so that changes to the formula don’t come as a surprise. In this case the change is a positive one, but it could just as easily go the other way. So more details would be most confidence inspiring.

    Assuming that there is no longer any soy in the product, I think my last remaining concern now is that it’s not certified organic. So one more step, and I’ll finally be ready to try it.

  5. Chris Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Sorry – I haven’t been getting notifications of new comments recently for some reason, so I’m a bit behind looking at the latest few. I got an email today re. the Vit E question.

    Yes it is correct we moved to Sunflower-origin Vitamin E, as thankfully the supplier was able to provide all quality and certification assurance (inc. Non-GMO Project accreditation) we needed and therefore the move from Soy-origin was an easy decision.

    Best wishes


  6. Lal Says:

    May I know the alternate manufacturers of lichen or plant based vegan vitamin D3, other than Vegetology (Vitashine)?

  7. K-Marie Says:

    In Northern lattitudes (above 30 degrees North or so) birds have been noted to eat lichens on trees — for nutrients and their winter sunshine vitamins. Lichen is a good whole food with D3 and D2 for reindeer and other animals as well. It unfortunately doesn’t contain B vitamins studies have revealed. The circumpolar peoples use lichen to feed their herds. Today the tribes spend 2 weeks or so with the herds, then trade off and a new team comes out from a local village to do herding for the next 2 weeks. Like team “blue” or team “green.” Or they rotate herding duties as needed. During the winter there is only 1 hour of light during late DEC early JAN, so the peoples, the flocks obtain as much D as they can from food. I always include bark with lichen on it around my bird feeders in the winter months. Birds absorb D from sunshine of course too — some from the powder on their wings, others from the areas around their eyes, I’ve heard. To my mind lichen is like the algae of ponds, but grows on trees! I eat my D especially in winter from the Vita shine, also spend about 30 min outdoors from about 1pm to 2pm or so on a break from work. Last time I had my D blood levels checked (25(OH)D) it was about 50 points total — 2 points from D2 and the rest from D3. Nuts and veggie oils have saturated fats in them, so there is no lack of saturated fats in a vegan diet. I sprinkle nuts on soups and salads. Olives are a good whole food to gain access to fats, rather than processed oils. Also olives are great chopped in hummus or veggie spreads. D3 has been found to keep melatonin levels at bay (the “sunshine” vitamin) if taken at bedtime, so I would use the sprays and supplements before say 2pm or so. In parrots the birds that got both sun time (10-20 min during the day) and D supplements had the least osteoporosis. In the summer I go outdoors before lunch (cooler), then wintertime after lunch (warmer), The skin absorbs a maximum of 3000 IU a day, so I don’t go over that on a supplement/day. With diet it’s all a sense of balance and equanimity. 1000 to 2000 IU a day or on most days, would seem good for the body and soul if we aren’t right on the equator. UVB is less effective above 35 degrees North or South, due to the angle of the rays. It’s present between 10am and 2pm or so at full strength, or 11am and 3pm DST.

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