important for bone health as it helps the body to absorb calcium. It is also important for our immune system and deficiency has been associated with a number of diseases including diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common in the general population and may be more of a risk in vegetarians, particularly vegans, as the main dietary sources are fatty fish, eggs and dairy foods.
Most of our vitamin D comes from exposure of the skin to sunlight rather than diet and many people can obtain adequate vitamin D from sensible sun exposure.
Mushrooms which have been exposed to UV light or sunlight also contain vitamin D.
Vegans who don’t spend much time outside may need a supplement or fortified foods (e.g. soy milk or oat milk with added vitamin D – but there are only a few brands available in Australia).
If sun exposure and intake of foods fortified with vitamin D is inadequate to meet the requirements, vitamin D supplements are recommended.
Source: Dr Kate Marsh BSc, MNutrDiet, PhD, Grad Cert Diab Edn & Mgt Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian