Vegetarian Health Institute - Discover How to Thrive on a Plant Based Diet and Stop Being Vulnerable to Deficiencies

Why Orange Juice and Breakfast Cereals Contain Slaughterhouse Byproducts

Did you realize that these foods can contain byproducts from the skins of cows
or pigs?…

  • Tropicana fortified orange juice
  • Fortified cereals like Cheerios, Kix, and Total 100%

Here's the lowdown. The USDA recommends 200-600 IU of Vitamin D per day depending on your age.  To be specific:

Birth to 50 years: 200 IU

51-70 years: 400 IU

71+ years 15 mcg: 600 IU

Few plant foods contain significant amounts of usable vitamin D.

This a huge concern because your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, and build and maintain strong bones.

Fortification To The Rescue

That’s why it’s become common practice to “fortify” orange juice, breakfast cereals, and other staple foods with vitamin D3.

For omnivores, this is no problem. But if you’re a vegan, you may be alarmed to know that Vitamin D3 can come from sheep wool lanolin, pig skin, or cow skin. And here’s the clincher…

There’s no law requiring food manufacturers to indicate the source of the D3 in their foods. There couldn’t be. That’s because after D3 is extracted, purified, and crystallized, it’s impossible to determine the original source.

What Should Vegans Do?

First, whenever you see the word “Fortified” on a food label, check the ingredients. If Vitamin D3 is on the list, it could be a slaughterhouse byproduct.

If the ingredient list simply says “Vitamin D”, and doesn’t specify whether it’s plant-based Vitamin D2 or animal-based Vitamin D3, there’s a good chance it’s D3.

Plant-based Vitamin D2 is found in many fortified non-dairy milks. But the quantity is far too small to meet our daily requirements. So is there any good news?

Yes… when Portobello mushrooms and white “button” mushrooms are briefly exposed to intense ultraviolet light, their naturally-occurring ergosterol is activated to vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) in quite significant amounts.

According to one study, each gram of UV-exposed mushroom contained approximately 3.8 mcg of vitamin D2. At 40 International Units per microgram, that’s 152 IU. So a 100 gram serving of UV-exposed mushrooms (approximately 3 ounces) would provide 1520 IU of vitamin D2, a very generous amount for anyone’s daily diet.

Indeed there is a report of a man curing his vitamin D deficiency utilizing irradiated mushrooms only!

If you don’t want to include UV-exposed mushrooms as a staple in your diet, the one other surefire solution is to take supplements with Vitamin D2.

The multi-vitamin we recommend is Dr. Fuhrman’s Gentle Care Formula. It’s vegan and it contains 1,000 IU of plant-based Vitamin D2. It also supplies the required daily allowance of Vitamin B12. You can order it here:

If you want even more Vitamin D, Dr. Fuhrman’s Osteo-Sun vegan formula contains 1800 IU of plant-based Vitamin D2. You can order it here:

What About Vitamin D From Sunshine?

According to Dr. Michael Klaper, our resident M.D., if you’re at a latitude south of Atlanta, Georgia, and you’re outdoors in the summertime when the sun is bright and high in the sky, 20 minutes of sunlight on your face, arms, hands or back twice weekly can theoretically create adequate amounts of vitamin D.

However, many factors can foil this mechanism, including cloud cover, smog, increasing age of skin, sunscreen (which effectively stops vitamin D production), and skin color. (Darker pigmentation of skin lengthens the time needed for vitamin D production.)

That said, most people today spend their days inside buildings and clothed. So vitamin D levels are low in most populations.

Spending more than 20 minutes out in the sun without sunscreen increases aging and cracking of the skin.

Our ancient ancestors, who spent their lives in the African sunshine with little or no clothing, had no problem making enough vitamin D. Their skin also undoubtedly showed the weathering and leathering that such a lifestyle produces.

But they likely did not care about the cosmetic appearance of their sun-blasted skin, and probably died long before skin cancer or melanoma would have developed.

People who live in sunny climates today have to face the same trade-off, and most actively avoid overexposure to the sun.

That’s why even people in Florida (and similar climates) are often deficient in vitamin D . People living in northern latitudes have less to fear from sun exposure, but they also make a lot less vitamin D in their skin .

As a Mastery Program student, you’ll get access to the rest of our Vitamin D lesson, plus a 1-hour Q&A call on the topic. And this is just one of the 50 weekly lessons you’ll receive!

“I’ve been a vegan/macrobiotic cookbook author, food coach and speaker for 37 years. Yet I continue refining my understanding of nutrition, thanks to the broad range of experts Trevor brings to the Q&A calls. My interest in sprouting and juicing has been renewed, and the insights shared on bone health and Vitamins D and B12 have been revelatory.”

– Meredith McCarty, Mill Valley, CA

Why remain vulnerable to vitamin or mineral deficiencies when you can find out exactly how to eat and absorb enough calcium, iron, Omega 3s, and Vitamins A, B12, and D?

Just one oversight or deficiency – if ignored for too long – can leave you vulnerable to disease, and potentially thousands in doctor or dental bills. Why take that gamble when you can thrive on a vegan diet now and for the rest of your life?

J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Apr 22;57(8):3351-5.
Vitamin D2 formation and bioavailability from Agaricus bisporus button mushrooms treated with ultraviolet irradiation.
Koyyalamudi SR, Jeong SC, Song CH, Cho KY, Pang G.
Centre for Plant and Food Science, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia.
J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Apr 22;57(8):3351-5.
Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, California 94710, USA
Br J Nutr. 2005 Jun;93(6):951-5.

Bioavailability of vitamin D2 from irradiated mushrooms: an in vivo study.

Jasinghe VJ, Perera CO, Barlow PJ.
Department of Chemistry, Food Science & Technology Programme, National University of Sin, 3 Science Drive 3, Singapore 117543

J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jun 25;56(12):4541-4. Epub 2008 Jun 4.

Vitamin D2 formation from post-harvest UV-B treatment of mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) and retention during storage.

Roberts JS, Teichert A, McHugh TH.

Br J Gen Pract. 2008 Sep;58(554):644-5.
Vitamin D deficiency treated by consuming UVB-irradiated mushrooms.
Ozzard A, Hear G, Morrison G, Hoskin M.

Vitamin D levels in subjects with and without type 1 diabetes residing in a solar rich environment.
Bierschenk L, Alexander J, Wasserfall C, Haller M, Schatz D, Atkinson M.
Diabetes Care. 2009 Nov;32(11):1977-9. Epub 2009 Aug 12.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Mar;90(3):1557-62. Epub 2005 Jan 5.

Vitamin D deficiency and seasonal variation in an adult South Florida population.

Levis S, Gomez A, Jimenez C, Veras L, Ma F, Lai S, Hollis B, Roos BA.

J Bone Miner Res. 2001 Nov;16(11):2066-73.

Vitamin D deficiency and bone health in healthy adults in Finland: could this be a concern in other parts of Europe?

Lamberg-Allardt CJ, Outila TA, Kärkkainen MU, Rita HJ, Valsta LM.

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