High vitamin D mushroom powder may be marketed as a vegan, organic whole-food source of vitamin D, said the company. The material is standardized to 5,000 International Units (IU) per gram of vitamin D2. The ingredient is not an extract but is 100% mushroom powder with full mushroom content.
The mushrooms – the enduringly popular Agaricus bisporus (white button) – are grown, processed and produced in California by Monterey Mushrooms, Vincent Hackel, president and CEO of Guzen Development, told NutraIngredients-USA.
The mushroom powder is intended for use in both supplements and food, and can be processed into tablets, capsules and powders, as well as various foods. “The ingredient yields a natural flavor from its original source – mushrooms,” explained Hackel. “This attribute makes it a natural slight flavour enhancement for a variety of foods such as vegetable soups or side dishes.”
According to Guzen Development, the majority of vitamin D supplements are in the form of vitamin D3, which is sourced from lanolin (sheep's wool). This would make it unsuitable for vegans. There is a price difference between the high vitamin D mushroom powder and the lanolin-derived D3, added Hackel, with the high vitamin D mushroom powder approximately two to three times higher.
Hackel added that the company’s mushroom powder also viable levels of riboflavin, niacin, copper, beta-glucans, chitan-glucan, and is an excellent source of the antioxidant ergothioneine.
Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors - D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. Both D3 and D2 precursors are transformed in the liver and kidneys into 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), the non-active 'storage' form, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D).
There is some debate as to whether vitamin D3 is superior to vitamin D2 for raising blood levels of the sunshine vitamin. Indeed, scientists at Creighton University in Nebraska recently found that vitamin D3 may be 87% more potent at raising blood levels of the vitamin than vitamin D2, according to results published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
However, a study led by Michael Holick, PhD, MD, from Boston University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that fortification of orange juice with either vitamin D2 or D3 produces the same increases in blood levels as consuming either vitamin via capsules.
While our bodies do manufacture vitamin D on exposure to sunshine, the levels in some northern countries are so weak during the winter months that our body makes no vitamin D at all, meaning that dietary supplements and fortified foods are seen by many as the best way to boost intakes of vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency in adults is reported to precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. There is also some evidence that the vitamin may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer and type-1 and -2 diabetes.