Finding a Prenatal with Vegan Vitamin D
While most supplements use vitamin D sourced from lambs’ wool, our vitamin D is carefully extracted from lichen to provide a readily absorbable form of vegan vitamin D3.
By Halle Tecco, MBA, MPH
Vitamin D (also called “calciferol”) is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be obtained through sunlight, some foods (e.g. salmon, red meat, egg yolks), and through supplements.
If calcium is your jelly, then vitamin D is your peanut butter—and your body needs the full PB&J sandwich to be complete. This is because vitamin D helps absorb calcium, which is needed for bone health.
Do I want vitamin D2 or D3?
Vitamin D has two main forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both forms are well absorbed, although vitamin D2 is less potent and has a shorter duration of action than vitamin D3. While D3 may be a little more potent, either form is better than no vitamin D at all.
Is vitamin D vegan?
It depends on the source. Some vitamin Ds are from vegan sources, while others are not. Vitamin D2 is usually vegan, and can be made from yeast, fungus, lichen, or alfalfa. While most supplements use vitamin D3 sourced from lambs’ wool, the vitamin D in our prenatal vitamin routine is carefully extracted from lichen to provide a readily absorbable form of vegan vitamin D3. This is why it’s important to closely read the label!
How much vitamin D do I need?
Even though sunlight is a major source of vitamin D for some people, the recommended daily allowance for males and females is 15 mcg (600 IU). For pregnant and breastfeeding women, the recommended amount is also 15 mcg (600 IU), although research shows that Vitamin D supplementation of 100 mcg (4,000 IU) per day for pregnant women is “safe and most effective”. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has defined the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin D as 100 micrograms (4,000 IU) daily for healthy adults.
Most people in the United States consume less than recommended amounts of vitamin D. An analysis of data from the 2015–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that 92% of men and over 97% of women ingested less than the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) of vitamin D from food and beverages.
Why is vitamin D important during pregnancy?
The relationship between low vitamin D and adverse maternal outcomes such as pregnancy– induced hypertension, high blood pressure in diabetic pregnancy, gestational diabetes mellitus, recurrent pregnancy loss, preterm delivery, and postpartum depression has been documented by research in recent years. And evidence has also accumulated regarding the impact of maternal vitamin D levels on long-term health of the child.
Vitamin D may reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, low birthweight, and preterm birth, although more research is warranted. While pregnant, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
Does my prenatal vitamin have enough vitamin D?
Most prenatals do not provide enough vitamin D, but Natalist Prenatal Vitamins have 50 mcg of vegan Vitamin D. As moms we understand and care about your health and have formulated our prenatal to offer you optimal dosing of the most important ingredients for you and your baby’s health during pregnancy.
Getting vitamin D in your diet
There are plenty of fish and dairy sources of vitamin D, including:
- 3 ounces of canned salmon = 17.9 μg
- 3 ounces cooked swordfish = 14.1 μg
- 3 ounces farmed and cooked rainbow trout = 16.2 μg
- 3 ounces smoked sturgeon = 13.7 μg
- 3 ounces canned light tuna = 5.7 μg
- 1 cup whole milk = 3.2 μg
- 8 ounces yogurt = 2-3 μg
1 hard boiled egg = 1.1 μg
Vegan sources of vitamin D
It is harder to get vitamin D in your diet as a vegan. There are fewer vegan sources of vitamin D, but here are some in Standard Portion (μg):
- 1 cup soymilk = 2.9 μg
- 1 cup orange juice = 2.5 μg
- 1 cup almond milk = 2.4 μg
- ½ cup morel mushrooms = 1.7 μg
- ½ cup chantarelle mushrooms = 1.4 μg
Sunshine is one of the best sources of vitamin D for the human body, but we don’t all live in Charleston, SC. To ensure the best outcomes for you and your baby, make sure your prenatal contains the right amount of vegan vitamin D.