As anyone who’s felt the positive effects of sunshine in a warm weather climate on vacation from a snow covered state in the Great White North knows, Vitamin D is easily one of the most important nutrients for overall human health.
Over 40% of the United States population is currently deficient in Vitamin D, and this deficiency is highest among people who are isolated from the rest of the world, such as those who live in nursing homes, are institutionalized, or hospitalized. Women wearing head scarfs may also be at higher risk for Vitamin D deficiency as well.
The best way to promote Vitamin D production in your body is to get outside and get sunshine on your bare skin for at least 20 minutes per day according to the mainstream medical point of view, although many in the holistic health community believe that this number should be dramatically higher, depending on your tolerance level.
For those who can’t always get outside or don’t live in sun soaked areas, diet and supplementation play a key role in Vitamin D production.
Most Vitamin D supplements are made from cholecalciferol, derived from the fat of lambs’ wool.
But there’s another type of Vitamin D supplement made from a surprisingly clean and natural plant source you may want to know about, as it’s been slowly gaining fanfare among the natural health community.
Vitamin D from Lichen: The Vegan Alternative
If you’ve been taking natural and organic supplements in the recent years, you’re probably aware of the health benefits of algae, specifically spirulina and chlorella, two sea-based, cholorophyll-rich substances that support life from the bottom of the food chain up.
On land, these algaes have a cousin that happens to be rich in the always important Vitamin D3: lichen.
According to the USDA Forest Service, lichens provide forage, shelter, and building materials for deer and other large animals, as well as birds and insects, and they were even consumed by Native American tribes for their health benefits.
Lichens are a “complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, a mushroom like organism and an algae,” according to the USDA.
The mushrooms give the organism its dominant characteristics, which makes sense in the grand scheme of themes considering many mushrooms are among the highest food sources of Vitamin D, along with eggs, fish, and other items predominantly eaten in cold climates.
The benefits of lichen-based Vitamin D3 include the following, according to Green Leaf Sciences:
-Free from toxins and contaminants, as lichen grows wild without pesticides or herbicides
-Support for bone, brain, and immune system health
-Support for the cardiovascular system and nervous systems
-Possible benefits for prevention of cancer, Type 1 diabetes, and Multiple Sclerosis,
-Lichen-based Vitamin D3 supplements are a natural form of D3 that is the same as what our body produces when exposed to sunlight
If you live in a cold climate and don’t supplement with Vitamin D3, there’s a good chance you are deficient, which is just part of the reason why I like to include lichen-based Vitamin D3 supplements like this one (it’s organic and available for less than 20 bucks currently) in my daily routine whenever possible.
Where to Find Vegan Vitamin D3 Supplements Made from Lichen
While most Vitamin D3 supplements use lamb’s wool derivatives as mentioned above, more and more companies are beginning to utilize lichen-based formulas.
I took it during the beginning of the coronavirus crisis and it helped me to keep my immunity strong to the point where I did not get sick even though I was going through a ton of anxiety and stress at the time.
Thanks for reading! This article was based on a sample of Vitamin D3 spray and other products provided by the company. See our full affiliate disclosure here.
For more information on how to optimize Vitamin D levels through nutrition, check out this article. Do not eat any wild lichens without consulting a professional or other resource as some may contain toxins.