Vitamin D

Going vegan and new vegans in need of support or information.

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Postby Ava Odoéména » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:46 pm

*cough* :-)

Vitamin D is a very broad issue, too broad to cover it here. Most of the time however I spend battling the meme-bots.

Vitamin D is an issue for everybody, especially for people who live typical Western lifestyles with most of the day spent indoors. It's not a vegan issue. It's a vegan + everybodyelse-issue.

The new scream is, that we need much more Vitamin D than previously thought, namely up to 1,000IU per 25lb of body weight.

The question is not how much exactly you need to take, but what amount will get your blood levels up to the acceptable range.

If you're lucky enough to live in the US or Canada, you have access to supplemental D2 which may be the vegan type. May, because just because the Vitamin is vegan, doesn't mean the product is depending on what else is in the supplement.

Now I don't like to mention Vitamin-D-internet-busybody Dr. John Cannell, because I think he is an antivegan and he is one of the prime sources of the "D3 is superior" memebot. And while his doctorate stands for psychiatry, he does have a lot of good info on Vitamin D - if you're one of the people who can filter out the D3-is-IT-crap. His advise on Vitamin D supplementation however I like: Take 5000IU every day for three months and then have your levels checked. The thing you need to have checked, and only this makes sense, is the 25(OH)D. It should be between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) depending the unit value the lab uses.

If your 25(OH)D level is below 50 ng/mL or 125nM/L, you need to increase your dose until you reach.

Yes, European vegans don't currently have that option unless they get prescription from a doctor for a high dose medication. Thanks to the D2-is-inferior-meme, D2 as a supplement got pulled off the shelves throughout EU-Europe, anyone reading here outside the EU and within Europe who can check if D2 (ergocalciferol) is still available as a supplement, let me know.

Given the new amounts of Vitamin D required and the outdated RDA, food has become a meaningless source of Vitamin D. One exception: Mushrooms, that have been dried in the sun shortly after harvest. Mushrooms that have not been exposed to either sunshine or UVB light, contain irrelevant amounts of Vitamin D. In mushrooms as with human skin, only exposure to UVB light will generate Vitamin D. However, you will not know how much Vitamin D is created in the mushrooms, so eating them is a gamble.

Tanning beds are an option, if the lamps they use have UVB. Sometimes they use only UVA, sometimes they use a mix, but never UVB alone, unfortunately. Because even with the mixed lamps, you'll be exposed to UVA and that unnecessarily buts a burdon to your skin.

Yes, the sun is a great source of UVB, it takes between 5-45 minutes midday summer sun, full body exposure to produce around 10,000IU Vitamin D. That process is self-regulatory, staying longer in the sun will not make more Vitamin D. The paler you are, the quicker your download will complete. The color of your eyes is irrelevant to this process. Pale + brown eyes is in the 5 minute range, black with green eyes, more to the 45 minutes range.

You do not make any Vitamin D in your skin when your shadow is longer than you, be it July evening or October midday. (Readers of OZ, it's reverse for you and given the different ankle UVB radiation may be more intense.

I do indeed grow my own mushrooms and either dry them in the sun or radiate them with an UVB bulb, but it is some work to get into the shroom growing and I guess only someone who can enjoy that as an hobby will uphold the effort mediumterm... It's also a great way to recycle your kitchen waste, because some shrooms are very tolerant about what substrate you can give them and will happily accept potato peels and coffee-grounds, once sterilized of course in a pressure cooker and according to the procedure of shrooming.

If you are time constrained, try to spend the time in the sun with as much skin exposed, when your shadow is shorter than yourself as long as required for your skintype to reach maximum production of Vitamin D.

In some cases, this will still fail. I mean who of us can actually spend between 5 and 45 minutes in the sun, almost naked, every day from March to October? I can't, and frankly I have better things to do.

For those who are already deficient, say 2 billion people, a high dose treatment may be the only route with normally 50,000 IU given once a week, I've also been told of a medication called Sterogyl which has doses of 20,000 IU, so that could be taken every second day. However much is needed to get your levels up.

I should probably cut this down since it's so long already.
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Postby SandGroper » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:59 am

There is some interesting information regarding vitamin D for Aussies (or people at equivalent latitudes) on the cancer council website:

http://www.cancer.org.au/cancersmartlif ... taminD.htm

It states:

The sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation is both the major cause of skin cancer and the best source of vitamin D. In Australia, we need to balance the risk of skin cancer from too much sun exposure with maintaining adequate vitamin D levels. Sensible sun protection does not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

For most people, adequate vitamin D levels are reached through regular daily activity and incidental exposure to the sun. During summer, the majority of people can maintain adequate vitamin D levels from a few minutes of exposure to sunlight on their face, arms and hands or the equivalent area of skin on either side of the peak UV periods (10am to 3pm) on most days of the week.

In winter in the southern parts of Australia, where UV radiation levels are less intense, people may need about two to three hours of sunlight to the face, arms and hands, or equivalent area of skin, spread over a week to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
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Postby Travelgal08 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:37 pm

I was trying to get D2 in the local health food store but they don't stock it. They tried contacting their suppliers for it but it seems it isn't available. There is a small amount contained in my multivitamin but I wanted to increase my dosage. How annoying!!!! Any ideas of how to get it other than the mushroom method? Not too much sunshine here in Limerick for many months of the year...
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Postby VibrantVegan » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:35 pm

Even though Ava doesn't like to mention him, Dr John Cannell does have a website full of great Vitamin D info. The link is: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

It is important to remember, like Ava said, the vitamin D issue is an everybody issue. And it is important issue.

Here in the U.S. vegan Vit. D is easy to come by. I found vegan D on amazon.com.uk . Here is the link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deva-Vegan-Vitamin-certified-tablets/dp/B001N3HY0C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=drugstore&qid=1232645511&sr=8-1

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Postby JP » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:52 pm

Travelgal08 wrote:I was trying to get D2 in the local health food store but they don't stock it. They tried contacting their suppliers for it but it seems it isn't available. There is a small amount contained in my multivitamin but I wanted to increase my dosage. How annoying!!!! Any ideas of how to get it other than the mushroom method? Not too much sunshine here in Limerick for many months of the year...


veg 1 is a good product for that. Each multi vit has 200% of RDA of vit D.

you can get it for instance from here:
http://www.vegansociety.com/shop/produc ... cts_id=239
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Postby Ava Odoéména » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:48 pm

JP wrote:veg 1 is a good product for that. Each multi vit has 200% of RDA of vit D.



I would love to agree with you here, but "200%" translates into 800IU, which is far off the 2,000IU which is probably needed to maintain an OK level once you've reached a good blood level of 25(OH)D. It's better than nothing of course, but to reach a good blood level may even require several months of 10,000IU daily. To recover a bad 25(OH)D level is not quickly achieved.

I would really LOVE to see a situation where a single D2 vitamin supplement is available with 5000IU, perhaps in a dose which can be split in two.

Veganessentials, the U.S.-Vegan Shop has now (following my communication with them in 2008?) a product with 2000IU, however, for those of us in EU-Europe this may get blocked by customs because the RDA has not been raised yet, so it is considered "high dose".

Thanks for posting the link to amazon.com.uk, it's still just 800IU, but since it's single and not multi, 4 lozenges would supply 3600IU/day and hence last 22 days, 3 lozenges would supply 2400IU/day and last a month. IMO not ideal, but again, better than nothing.
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Postby Fallen_Horse » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:56 pm

I couldn't fathom them raising the recommendation to anything more than 1000IU...
Last edited by Fallen_Horse on Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Ava Odoéména » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:26 am

Fallen_Horse wrote:I couldn't fathom the RDA raising their recommendation to anything more than 1000IU...


? The RDA? I'm confused.

I suspect you saw "RDA" or "RDI"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reference_Daily_Intake
and it got translated by your brain to "FDA"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Food_ ... nistration

In which case yes, while Canada has set the DRI (newer version of RDA/RDI)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietary_Reference_Intake of Vitamin D up to 2,000IU, with the save maximum being 10,000IU/day, the U.S. authorities are lagging a bit behind. In Germany it's still at 400IU...

Given the amount of research, I think that's scandalous....

EDIT: I think your statement can be interpreted both ways. Are you saying the FDA should should have raised the DRI above 1000IU?
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Postby Fallen_Horse » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:12 am

Whoops, yes I meant to say they probably won't raise the recommendation above 1000IU, but I don't have any thoughts about whether it's right or not. :D
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Postby Travelgal08 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:03 pm

Thanks JP
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Good news for European Vegans

Postby Ava Odoéména » Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:00 pm

EDIT: This post contains some errors which I didn't know at the time. First of all the name of Sterogyl 2,000,000 is "misleading". What they mean is 2 million IU per 100 ml, but the bottlette only contains 20 ml. So each bottlette (what are those little brown drop bottles called anyway) actually contains 400,000 IU.

Secondly, it's available without perscription in France at a dirt cheap price of around 2 Euro! My gosh. The cost of around 20 Euro I mentioned further down this post relates to the corrupted German import system which is not needed anymore.

*******************************************************************************************************
OLD MESSAGE:
Hello, some good news for Europeans on Vitamin D2. Allthough Sterogyl is not available over the counter (you need a perscription from a doctor/GP) it's a very good supplement which was designed with both treatment and prophylaxis in mind. Because its French and registered there, it's availble EU-wide an can be ordered from international pharmacies.

It's under 20 Euro, and with Sterogyl 2.000.000 (2,000,000), available as drops in a 100 ml bottlette, each drop (!) of the 5000 drops contains 400 IU.

This is very nice, because if you wanted to boost your level if it had been low (most likely if you haven't spent much time in the sun), you can just put 12 drops into your tea and have a neat dose of 4800 IUs.

There are two other types of Sterogyl, but they are less relevant for day to day supplementation.

The best part: Even at 13 drops / 5200 IUs every day, it will last for 384 days!

I will actually stop growing mushrooms, or at least grow them for wanting to eat them, rather than as part of my vitamin D strategy because this is so practical. I'll not sundry my mushrooms anymore or radiate them with my UVB bulb, so time and energy saved.

I really don't know how I could have mentioned the product here in this thread and forgotten to research its availability outside France, it's a forehead-slapper.
Last edited by Ava Odoéména on Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Good news for European Vegans

Postby Ava Odoéména » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:25 am

I wrote:Hello, some good news for Europeans on Vitamin D2. Allthough Sterogyl is not available over the counter (you need a perscription from a doctor/GP)


Wrong. In France Sterogyl 2 million is available without perscription I found out, and with a workaround also now in Germany. I've been using it and it's really neat because the drops make for practical dosage. I wrote an entry into my blog about it, please have a look and comment (no registration needed); I'd really love to know if this is available in other countries as well. Shorturl to WordPress entry: http://wp.me/pHXhh-7C
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