by Kristina Fiore

Staff Writer

April 22, 2013

from MedPageToday Website



Reviewed by F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE; Instructor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner








Eating mushrooms may be as effective at raising serum vitamin D levels as taking capsuled supplements, researchers reported here.

In a small randomized trial, 12 weeks of daily intake of mushroom extract raised serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels comparably to daily intake of vitamin D2 or D3 supplements, Michael Holick, MD, PhD, of Boston University, and colleagues reported at the joint American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Experimental Biology meeting in Boston.

"These results provide evidence that ingesting mushrooms that 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," Holick said in a statement.

Mushrooms produce vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, when exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet radiation, in a similar process by which humans produce vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol.


Not all plants possess this property, but fungi, seaweed, and yeast do.

Clinicians largely recommend vitamin D3 supplements, particularly for those who are vitamin D deficient or insufficient, but studies have shown vitamin D2 to be effective at increasing serum levels of the vitamin as well.

Kurt Kennel, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who was not involved in the study, noted that,

"vitamin D2 has gotten a bit of a bad rap in the scientific literature in the last couple of years," but added that both forms of the vitamin have been shown to be beneficial for calcium and bone metabolism.

"We don't want to look at one or the other as ineffective," he told MedPage Today, "but there probably is a difference. We wouldn't want to say that this is an equivalent way of treating vitamin D deficiency."

However, he added, mushrooms are likely,

"a very reasonable approach for people who want to get vitamin D from foods that are not animal-based."

To determine whether eating mushrooms - in this study (Evaluation of the bioavailability of vitamin D2 in mushrooms in healthy adults), extract of dried white button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) - was as effective at increasing and maintaining vitamin D status as supplemental vitamins D2 or D3, Holick and colleagues randomized 30 adults, mean age 35.2, to one of three interventions taken once a day for 12 weeks during the winter:

  • Capsules containing 2,000 IU of vitamin D3

  • Capsules containing 2,000 IU of vitamin D2

  • 2,000 IU of mushroom powder containing vitamin D2

Patients had similar baseline levels of serum vitamin D:

  • D3 group: 17.1 ng/mL

  • D2 group: 19.4 ng/mL

  • Mushroom group: 20.9 ng/mL

A total of 25 patients completed all 12 weeks of the study, and serum vitamin D levels gradually increased until they plateaued at about 7 weeks for all three groups and were maintained for the next 5 weeks, the researchers said.

At the end of the study, vitamin D levels among those eating mushrooms were comparable to those taking vitamin D supplements:

  • D3 group: 34.4 ng/mL

  • D2 group: 29.2 ng/mL

  • Mushrooms: 31.1 ng/mL

Holick said the findings suggest that taking mushrooms and the vitamin D2 they provide can improve serum vitamin D levels.

The results confirm other studies that have shown eating vitamin D2 - either in the form of fortified orange juice, a supplement, or a pharmaceutical formulation - can increase total circulating serum 25(OH)D concentrations for at least 3 months and up to 6 years, Holick said.

He added that exposing mushrooms to UVB light can produce vitamins D3 and D4 as well, giving patients additional vitamin D.

The study (Evaluation of the bioavailability of vitamin D2 in mushrooms in healthy adults) was supported by the Mushroom Council, a trade organization of which Monterey Mushrooms - the company that produced the mushroom powder used in the study - is a member.




Mushrooms Can Be an Effective Source of Vitamin D - Study
24 April, 2013

from TimesLive Website


Tucking into a bowl of cream of mushroom soup

or a plate of sauteed mushrooms

may be an effective way of upping your vitamin D intake,

provided you choose mushrooms that have been exposed

to plenty of UV light, suggest the authors of a new US study.


In the randomized study out of Boston University, 30 healthy adults took capsules of vitamin D2, capsules of vitamin D3, or mushroom powder containing vitamin D2 once a day during the winter, when stores of the sunshine vitamin are low.

Doses all measured 2 000 International Units (IUs).


Vitamin D is crucial for building strong bones and muscle strength, and helps reduce the risk of fracture and osteoporosis. It’s been shown to help fight infections like the flu and to play a role in,

After 12 weeks, researchers found no difference in the vitamin D levels among participants who took supplements versus those who ingested the mushroom powder.

"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,” said lead author Michael Holick in a statement.

The findings were published in the journal Dermato-Endocrinology and presented Monday at the American Society for Biochemistry and Microbiology annual meeting in Boston.

It’s been a good week for the fungi, as another study released this week out of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health concluded that swapping out meat for mushrooms in one meal a day helped subjects lose weight, reduce overall body fat and maintain their weight loss over time.