by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
In July 2011, a long-time VRG member contacted us about a Source of Life vitamin supplement recently purchased by her mother. She wondered if the company’s statement about a vegan Vitamin D3 derived from mushrooms were true and asked us to look into it.
To the best of our knowledge, mushrooms are able to produce Vitamin D2, otherwise known as ergocalciferol, when exposed to ultraviolet light (1). Cholecalciferol, or Vitamin D3, is usually derived from lanolin in sheep’s wool. Except for a synthetic Vitamin D3 precursor currently given only to poultry (2), and Vitamin D3 purportedly produced by lichen (3), we have not been aware of an all-plant-based Vitamin D3. The VRG was curious to learn about the cholecalciferol that Source of Life said was produced by mushrooms.
The VRG e-mailed and called Source of Life. We spoke with a customer service representative. Our first question concerned their product called “Bone Support Vcaps” (Product No. 30729). Since it is listed as “Vitamin D3 (from organic mushroom; cholecalciferol),” which suggests that there are two sources of the Vitamin D3, we asked if there were in fact two different sources, possibly Vitamin D2 from the mushrooms and Vitamin D3 from lanolin. The consumer representative put me on hold to check with a supervisor. She came back on to say: “[The supervisor says] it’s from one source only; mushrooms.”
Our next question concerned Source of Life’s Vitamin D3 Vcaps (Product No. 30735). They are listed as “100% plant-source cholecalciferol.” We asked the consumer rep to specify the plant source. She responded by saying “Mushrooms are the plant source.”
Lastly, The VRG inquired if their mushroom-produced Vitamin D3 had been independently confirmed by a third-party laboratory. The rep said that they had been. When we requested a copy of the results, we were put through to an “Inquiry Line” and left a message stating that we’d like to see the lab results.
When we followed up and asked for more detail on how their mushrooms produced Vitamin D3 because there is no detail about this on the company website, we were put through to the Manager of Research and Development, but as of this writing, have not yet received a response. If readers have more information, please let us know. Thank you.
The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.
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