Veganes Auge (Vegan Eye) is a Blog which primarily focuses on antivegan phenomena in German speaking countries, however occasionally the interest extends to matters which concern vegans directly, Vitamin D and access to vegan Vitamin D in appropriate dosages is such a matter.
Vitamin D has gotten lots of attention lately, for example through the research conducted by the Max-Rubner-Institute in Karlsruhe. They discovered that if you set the level for a healthy Vitamin D blood level, 90 % of Germans have a clinical deficiency.
So Vitamin D deficiency concerns not only vegans, but rather is a large phenomenon affecting entire populations outside the equator region. Even regions as sunny as Spain are reporting Vitamin D deficiency or tropical cities with smog problems. Anywhere there’s a shift towards a lifestyle indoors at work and leisure time, Vitamin D deficiency follows in its shadow with wide ranging and often devastating effects on health.
According to new research, the vegan variant of supplemental Vitamin D2 is as effective as Vitamin D3 in maintaining circulating concentrations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, which is animal based. Nevertheless, probably because of previous research which indicated otherwise, Vitamin D2 or Ergocalciferol has vanished off EU’s shelves, which leaves vegans with very few options to have access to Vitamin D in winter, all of which above that contain inappropriate doses of the vitamin.
Because to treat active deficiency is so difficult, doses of up to 10,000 IU daily are needed for several months, it’s vital to have access to a cheap supply of supplemental Vitamin D both for vegans and non-vegans, as everyone is affected. Please note that 400 IU as in Veg1 is nowhere near enough to treat a deficiency, it barely is enough to hinder levels dropping to catastrophic lows.
France and possibly Greece are the only EU countries now where such an option is available without prescription, a product exists called Sterogyl 2,000,000 (two million) which irregardless of the name contains 400,000 IU Vitamin D as drops in alcohol solution, 1,000 drops with each 400 IU. The author of this text has tried it and it raised and maintains the 25(OH)D level comfortably above 100 nmol/L or 40 ng/ml in the new values used in labs.
Sterogyl is also available as injectables as either an oil or alcohol based solution.
The product thus is ideal for both treating Vitamin D deficiency and maintaining good levels cheaply at around 2 to 3 Euros per bottle, the question is, how do you get to it? In Germany the situation was/is further complicated by additional regulation which leads to the paradox situation that the end user is allowed to order it from France without prescription, however the neighborhood pharmacy can only import it if the customer presents a prescription at an 800% increased price tag compared to (legally) ordering it out of France. There’s now a workaround in place, but we can not say what method is available to you in your country. If you know, please tell us in the comment section of Veganes Auge, preferably in English or German. It could well be that Sterogyl is available to you as a regularly stocked option in the drug store or pharmacy, in which case we’d also love to hear from you.
Lastly, there’s a matter of the demonization of Vitamin D2. All negative reports on Vitamin D2 toxicity are based on the confusion of toxicity and hypersensitivity and industrial accidents. Nuts are not toxic, because some people are allergic and have died after accidentally eating them doesn’t mean they are dangerous to everyone. Neither is Vitamin D2. It is perfectly safe and to intoxicate yourself you’d have to consume amounts of up to 40,000 IU every day for several months.
The exact opposite is the case, we’re all terribly starved of Vitamin D. Nobody seems to spend enough time in the sun to maintain good blood levels anymore which is the bodies primary source of the vitamin, the warnings from dermatologists have contributed to the behavior to actively avoid the sun.
Of special concern to vegans is an activist who’s made himself a name in the scientific scenery around Vitamin D, Dr. Cannel and his „Vitamin D Council“. Dr. Cannel is a psychiatrist by training and while he actually does have valuable information on his site, it’s clearly antivegan. He continues to ignore science which repairs the value of Vitamin D2 being equal to Vitamin D3, often with fallacious arguments which I will detail another time.
Voices and behaviors like his are partially responsible for Vegans being starved out of the Vitamin D2 option, especially in winter. He also refuses to respond to emails which address this concern, probably for „good“ reasons. Veganes Auge sees that he gets cited as a trusted source for information around Vitamin D, even though he, contrary to the science, keeps the meme alive that vitamin D2 is somehow inferior and should be avoided. He does not provide valuable evidence for this claim. People like him are partially responsible why it is so hard for vegans to have access to Vitamin D if they wish to supplement it.
An easy alternative would be to grow mushrooms on straw (there are starter kits on the web for this) and dry them in the summer sun. A sterol in shrooms is also converted to Vitamin D2 upon UVB light exposure, however supplemental Vitamin D is much more practical and certainly requires no effort or has a learning curve. Besides, it’s of political interest that vegans are not discriminated against in such an important field as health.
So if you stumble upon this text in the Googles and Bings of the web, please if you feel so inclined drop in and leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you, regardless you’re from within or outside Europe.