Vitamin D mushrooms – but not at a Canadian store near you

While it may be smart for us to follow safe sun practices and use sunscreen, we can still reap the vitamin D benefits of sun exposure.

Just eat vitamin D mushrooms.

ee-mushrooms-vitD_familyMushrooms, like humans, produce vitamin D when they are exposed to ultraviolet light of a certain intensity. They are the only naturally occurring plant-based source of vitamin D.

And new research from Boston University School of Medicine shows  that eating mushrooms containing vitamin D2 can be as effective at increasing and maintaining blood levels of  vitamin D as taking supplemental vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 (the same form which is produced when our skin is exposed to UV light).

The study,  presented  at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Boston, involved subjects taking either capsules containing 2,000 IU of vitamin D2 or  vitamin D3 or 2,000 IU of mushroom powder containing vitamin D2 once a day for 12 weeks during the winter. At the end of the investigation, all the groups had similar blood levels of vitamin D.

According to the researchers,  mushrooms are another good natural food source for vitamin D that can easily be found in one’s local grocery store.

But maybe not if you live in Canada.

Highline Mushrooms,  a company based in Leamington, Ontario which recently exhibited at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention in Toronto, produces Vitamin D Sliced Portabella or Vitamin D Portabella Grill Cap mushrooms. A 100 g serving- less than one half cup of chopped mushrooms-  provides 280 IU of vitamin D.

That’s a pretty hefty amount for such a small amount of food. It would be easy to consume double or triple that amount- if you love mushrooms.

But here’s the kicker. You can’t buy them in Canadian grocery stores.  They’re only available in the U.S. Why? Because Canadian stores won’t put them on their shelves.

Is that not ridiculous?  I would buy them in a flash.

If you want to see them in your local supermarket, let your grocery retailer know that this product is available from Highline Mushrooms. They can forward inquiries via email ( or by phone: 1-866-454-7696. Inquires will be vetted according to region and one of their sales representative will follow up accordingly.

Would you buy this product if it was available? Please share in the comment section below.

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Categories: Research Roundup, Superfoods, Whole Foods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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