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Now that the dark days of winter are over, people should consider getting their vitamin D levels checked. In the colder months when the sun is not out often, people need regular lab tests to make sure that they are getting sufficient amounts of this important nutrient, which the body produces in response to sun exposure. Individuals who use sunscreen in the summer to protect their skin should also check their vitamin D levels, since they may be blocking both the sun's rays and this vitamin with their SPF 30.
Those who do discover that they need more vitamin D should add more mushrooms to their diet. According to a recent study conducted by researchers from the Boston University Medical Center, eating mushrooms containing vitamin D2 can be just as effective at helping people keep healthy vitamin D levels as taking a supplement.
A simple and natural solution
Researchers examined 30 healthy adults who were either taking vitamin D supplements, or consuming a mushroom powder. They discovered that after 12 weeks, the people taking the supplements did not show a significant difference in their vitamin D levels compared to those consuming the mushrooms.
"These results provide evidence that ingesting mushrooms which have been exposed to ultraviolet light and contain vitamin D2, are a good source of vitamin D that can improve the vitamin D status of healthy adults. Furthermore we found ingesting mushrooms containing vitamin D2 was as effective in raising and maintaining a healthy adult's vitamin D status as ingesting a supplement that contained either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3," said Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D., the principal investigator of the study.
The scientists added that these findings confirm past research supporting the benefits of consuming mushrooms that are fortified with vitamin D2.
What mushrooms work best?
These findings suggest that people can consume mushrooms, rather than supplements, to get more vitamin D - but where can people find the right kind of mushrooms? Health magazine explains that many mushrooms are usually grown in the dark and do not contain vitamin D. However, people can check the labels of mushrooms sold in containers at their local grocery store to see if they have been fortified with vitamin D, which many of them are.
Along with mushrooms, orange juice, milk and certain cereals are often fortified with vitamin D, people just need to be sure to read the labels of everything they purchase.
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