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Vitamin D in vegan diet (100% vegetarian) – Myths and facts


The most important things about Vitamin D:

* A well-planned vegan diet will not produce Vitamin D deficiencies.

* Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium.

* We produce it on the skin, thanks to sunlight (ultraviolet rays). If we do not get enough sunlight, we will need supplements.

* There are 2 forms of vitamin D that we can absorb: vitamin D2 (plant source) and D3 (animal source). Vitamin D2 can also be called:
 + Previtamin D2.
 + Ergosterol.
 + Vitamin D2.
 + Ergocalciferol.

* Sunlight exposure for 10-15 minutes a day on face and forearms (or a similar surface of skin) is enough to get the vitamin D we need. The darker our skin, the longer exposure to the sun we will need, up to 3-6 times more than with light skin.

* Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets.

* The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) If we take supplements of vitamin D2 (of vegetable origin and 60% more efficient than the D3, of animal origin) is:
 + 5μg (0-50 years).
 + 10μg (50-75 years).
 + 15μg (over 75 years).
Μg = mcg = micrograms. Excess vitamin D (more than 25-50μg is toxic). Always consult your nutritionist.

Synthesis and production of vitamin D:

* During the summer we create reserves of vitamin D for the great amount of sunlight that we receive.

* There are few plant sources of vitamin D. Some mushrooms, seaweed and yeast.

* Many vegan foods come fortified with vitamin D. Vegetable milks, juices, breakfast cereals… look at the ingredients.

* There is almost no difference between the vitamin D2 we create thanks to sunlight or the one we take in vegan supplements or fortified foods.

* Ultraviolet light lamps are used to obtain vitamin D. Follow manufacturer’s and nutritionist’s instructions.

* Elderly and very thin people may be jave affected their ability to create vitamin D.

* Sunscreens, the winter sun, the latitude where we are… can affect the amount of ultraviolet rays we receive from the sun.

More info:

* Vitamin D can work as a hormone or as a vitamin.

* Its functions include maintaining calcium levels in the blood, regulating calcium in bones, facilitating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestine to the bones.

* It helps the working of cells of muscles, glands and nerves that depend on calcium. It also has a role in the skin, immune system, pancreas and is believed to help prevent colon cancer.

* According to needs for calcium in the blood, vitamin D can decrease the loss of calcium in the urine, increase the efficiency of absorption of calcium in the intestine or remove calcium from our bones.


U.S. Agricultural Research Service Nutrition Data Releases.

Toronto researchers Vieth and Trang

Davis, Brenda and Vesanto, Melina. Becoming Vegan: the complete guide to adopting a healthy plant-based diet. Book Publishing Company, 2000. ISBN: 1570671036.

NutricionVegana.com/en: Please note that the information contained on this website is for educational purposes only. The admins of the website are not doctors or nutritionists (but the info is aproved by nutritionists, of course). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. That is why we ask that you consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet and that you take into account the treatment that has been prescribed, if you have. Nutritionists can help you to take a well-planned vegan diet.

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