Most people stay indoors when winter turns the world cold and white, but staying indoors too much can cause a vitamin D deficiency. Vegans are particularly susceptible, because their diet tends to be low in the vitamin. While non-vegans can get vitamin D from meat and other animal products, vegans can’t. Don’t write vitamin D off as a useless vitamin; it’s very important to the body. It helps regulate bone formation, assists in fighting illnesses and aids in calcium absorption.
Young vegans who are still growing, will need a larger quantity of a vitamin D supplement as a vitamin D deficiency may lead to misshapen bones in children. To prevent issues stemming from the lack of vitamin D during winter, vegans can supplement in one of three ways.
The first option, standing in the winter sun, isn’t a strong source of vitamin D. The lower sun trajectory results in less direct sunlight. Plus, it’s cold outside and no one wants to stand outside for long periods of time while the fingers and toes start to freeze. If your house has a sunroom, you can soak up sun this way. While you will be warmer as your exposed skin soaks in the vitamin D from the sun, you won’t be able to get enough sunlight because of the lower amount of direct sunlight in winter and you should still use food or supplements to get enough Vitamin D.
* Vegan food sources
Vegan food sources that contain vitamin D are another option. Some brands of vegan-friendly soy milk are fortified with vitamin D. To get enough vitamin D, vegans will need to consume at least two cups of vitamin D fortified soy milk a day. That’s 16 ounces a day, which equals about a gallon a week per vegan family member. It could easily become a costly way to supplement Vitamin D. Before purchasing, check the package to ensure the brand is fortified with vitamin D, as soy milk is not a significant source on its own. Vegan Becel margarine contains a decent amount of vitamin D, and one would need to consume 5 teaspoons of the margarine a day to defer a deficiency. Some breakfast cereals are vitamin D fortified, but not all cereals are vegan. So, check the box to ensure you get a fortified vegan variety. Then, douse the cereal with soy milk to get even more vitamin D.
* Vegan supplements
Alternatively, vegans can take a supplement, like Pure Vegan Vitamin D2 Spray. The main component, the vegan vitamin D, or vitamin D2, is derived from plant sources. Vitamin D3 comes from animal sources. Vegans should take at least 1000 IU, preferably 2,000 IU, of supplements containing vegan vitamin D each day. Supplementation by spray requires less calculation; only a couple sprays are needed per day as part of your daily routine.
Whether you’re vegan or not, supplementing your diet with vitamin D just makes sense. Studies link vitamin D with reducing the risk of cancer, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and autoimmune diseases. If you suspect you or a loved one is vitamin D deficient, schedule a checkup with your doctor that includes blood work. Blood work will definitively determine whether you or your loved one needs a Vitamin D supplement.
by Melissa Sanborn of Nutritional Brands, PureVegan