Why Orange Juice and Breakfast
Cereals Contain Slaughterhouse Byproducts
Did you realize that these foods can
contain byproducts from the skins of cows
- Tropicana fortified orange juice
- Fortified cereals like Cheerios, Kix, and Total
- Fortified milk
- Fortified Dannon and Yoplait yogurt
Here's the lowdown. The USDA
recommends 200-600 IU of Vitamin D per day depending on your age.
To be specific:
Birth to 50 years: 200 IU
51-70 years: 400 IU
71+ years 15 mcg: 600 IU
Few plant foods contain significant amounts of usable vitamin D. And
even a quart of unfortified
milk only contains 35-70 IU of Vitamin D3. That’s a small
fraction of the RDA.
This a huge concern because your body needs vitamin D to absorb
calcium, and build and maintain strong bones.
Fortification To The Rescue
That’s why it’s become common practice to
“fortify” milk, yogurt, orange juice, breakfast cereals,
and other staple foods with vitamin D3.
For omnivores, this is no problem. But if you’re a
vegetarian, you may be alarmed to know that Vitamin D3 can come from
sheep wool lanolin, pig skin, or cow skin. And here’s the
There’s no law requiring food manufacturers to indicate the
source of the D3 in their foods. There couldn’t be. That’s
because after D3 is extracted, purified, and crystallized, it’s
impossible to determine the original source.
What Should Vegetarians Do?
First, whenever you see the word “Fortified” on a food
label, check the ingredients. If Vitamin D3 is on the list, it could be
a slaughterhouse byproduct.
If the ingredient list simply says “Vitamin D”, and
doesn’t specify whether it’s plant-based Vitamin D2 or
animal-based Vitamin D3, there’s a good chance it’s D3.
Plant-based Vitamin D2 is found in many fortified non-dairy milks. But
the quantity is far too small to meet our daily requirements. So is
there any good news?
Yes… when Portobello mushrooms and white “button”
mushrooms are briefly exposed to intense ultraviolet light, their
naturally-occurring ergosterol is activated to vitamin D2
(ergocalciferol) in quite significant amounts.
According to one study, each gram of UV-exposed mushroom contained
approximately 3.8 mcg of vitamin D2. At 40 International Units per
microgram, that’s 152 IU. So a 100 gram serving of UV-exposed
mushrooms (approximately 3 ounces) would provide 1520 IU of vitamin D2,
a very generous amount for anyone’s daily diet.
Indeed there is a report of a man curing his vitamin D deficiency
utilizing irradiated mushrooms only!
If you don’t want to include UV-exposed mushrooms as a staple in
your diet, the one other surefire solution is to take supplements with
The multi-vitamin we recommend is Dr. Fuhrman’s Gentle Care
Formula. It’s vegan and it contains 1,000 IU of plant-based
Vitamin D2. It also supplies the required daily allowance of Vitamin
B12. You can order it here:
If you want even more Vitamin D, Dr. Fuhrman’s Osteo-Sun vegan
formula contains 1800 IU of plant-based Vitamin D2. You can order it
What About Vitamin D From
According to Dr. Michael Klaper, our resident M.D., if you’re at
a latitude south of Atlanta, Georgia, and you’re outdoors in the
summertime when the sun is bright and high in the sky, 20 minutes of
sunlight on your face, arms, hands or back twice weekly can theoretically
create adequate amounts of vitamin D.
However, many factors can foil this mechanism, including cloud cover,
smog, increasing age of skin, sunscreen (which effectively stops
vitamin D production), and skin color. (Darker pigmentation of skin
lengthens the time needed for vitamin D production.)
That said, most people today spend their days inside buildings and
clothed. So vitamin D levels are low in most populations.
TRADE-OFF ALERT: Spending more than 20 minutes out in the sun
without sunscreen increases aging and cracking of the skin.
Our ancient ancestors, who spent their lives in the African sunshine
with little or no clothing, had no problem making enough vitamin D.
Their skin also undoubtedly showed the weathering and leathering that
such a lifestyle produces.
But they likely did not care about the cosmetic appearance of their
sun-blasted skin, and probably died long before skin cancer or melanoma
would have developed.
People who live in sunny climates today have to face the same
trade-off, and most actively avoid overexposure to the sun.
That’s why even people in Florida (and similar climates) are
often deficient in vitamin D . People living in northern latitudes have less to
fear from sun exposure, but they also make a lot less vitamin D in
their skin .
As a Vegetarian Mastery Program student, you’ll get access to the rest of
our Vitamin D lesson, plus a 1-hour Q&A call on the topic. And this
is just one of the 50 weekly lessons you’ll receive!
“I’ve been a
vegan/macrobiotic cookbook author, food coach and speaker for 37 years.
Yet I continue refining my understanding of nutrition, thanks to the
broad range of experts Trevor brings to the Q&A calls. My interest
in sprouting and juicing has been renewed, and the insights shared on
bone health and Vitamins D and B12 have been revelatory.”
– Meredith McCarty, Mill Valley, CA
Why remain vulnerable to vitamin or
mineral deficiencies when you can find out exactly how to eat and
absorb enough calcium, iron, Omega 3s, and Vitamins A, B12, and D?
Just one oversight or deficiency
– if ignored for too long – can leave you vulnerable to
disease, and potentially thousands in doctor or dental bills. Why take
that gamble when you can thrive on a vegetarian diet now and
for the rest of your life?
Agric Food Chem. 2009 Apr 22;57(8):3351-5.
Vitamin D2 formation and bioavailability from Agaricus bisporus button
mushrooms treated with ultraviolet irradiation.
Koyyalamudi SR, Jeong SC, Song CH, Cho KY, Pang G.
Centre for Plant and Food Science, College of Health and Science,
University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia.
Agric Food Chem. 2009 Apr 22;57(8):3351-5.
Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, United
States Department of Agriculture, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany,
California 94710, USA
Br J Nutr.
of vitamin D2 from irradiated mushrooms: an in vivo study.
Jasinghe VJ, Perera CO, Barlow PJ.
Department of Chemistry, Food Science & Technology Programme,
National University of Sin, 3 Science Drive 3, Singapore 117543
Vitamin D levels in subjects with and without type 1
diabetes residing in a solar rich environment.
Bierschenk L, Alexander J, Wasserfall C, Haller M, Schatz D, Atkinson M.
Diabetes Care. 2009 Nov;32(11):1977-9. Epub 2009 Aug 12.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Mar;90(3):1557-62.
Epub 2005 Jan 5.
deficiency and seasonal variation in an adult South Florida population.
Levis S, Gomez A, Jimenez C, Veras L, Ma F, Lai S, Hollis B, Roos BA.