Vitamin D

A special food, mushroom with high vitamin D content

Today, healthy eating is getting more and more emphasis both in the media and in people’s lifestyle. Using raw materials of total value in the preparation of food, paying attention to consumed and used fats and carbohydrates and not least intenting to eat vitamins are the well known criteria  of the conscious diet by everyone. Among healthy eating strategies it is not sure that every one is succesful, in case of certain ages it can even be harmful. Such as vegetarianism which is healthy but in case of children, young people with hard physical and mental work and women with family-creating plans this can be detrimental in many ways. Refusing food of animal origin implies the decreading of certain vitamins such as vitamin D but also the intake of essential amino acids can also reduce.

Parallel to the spread of vegetarianism, fearing of the sun is also expanding which is justified in many ways as in the past decades the ultraviolet radiation intensity increased. Excessive protection of the sunshine however created a new problem, the majority of people can suffer of abnormal vitamin D deficiency, specially in case of vegetarians who have more chance to have it.

Canadian and Scandinavian researchers observed this unfortunate process that in spite of the high living standards, the diet and sun creams, the proportion of epithelial malignancies, particularly of the breast and prostate cancer is increasing. After nearly a decade of research they see the secret in vitamin D deficient diet and in a lifestyle lack of sunshine.

A Hungarian research team was inspired by articles and discoveries published in this topic to develop a product line of high vitamin D content of mushrooms. Our article presents this remarkable research and product development work.

Vitamin D2 is produced in plants and mushrooms naturally as well: the starting material of the process is ergosterol which is converted into vitamin D2 by UV light. Different types of vitamin D are known of which vitamin D2 is less able to bind to the vitamin D receptor and it has lower stability and shorter exposure time. Its consequence that the biological value is less, its effect is approx. 33% lower than the vitamin D3 which can be found in the offal of mammals and fish oil in large quantities. Nevertheless, the Bio-Fungi Kft. and its research partners, three departments of Corvinus University of Budapest aim to develop the cultivated mushroom product line of high vitamin D content treated by UV light.

The nutritional composition of mushrooms offers the opportunity to be a source of vitamin D in case of increasing consumption. Among vegetables, cultivated mushrooms is the only one which contains vitamin D2 in small quantity and ergosterol in big quantity so its vitamin D2 content can be multiplied by UV light treatment. In mushrooms a similar process takes place as in case of our skin when vitamin D is produced by UV light. This vitamin D surplus is natural, regarding to its chemical structure is completely equivalent to vitamin D2 synthesized by other plants.

The application of large-scale production technology management of the treatment has raised a lot of questions and tasks to be solved in order that the quality of the product very sensitive to environmental impact do not deteriorate by the UV treatment , so we had to carry out a number of investigation and development. Researchers of Bio-Fungi Kft. have successfully used a xenon UV equipment in case of post-harvest treatments and two additional lights in case of pre-harvest treatments, on the growing bed of the mushroom. According to the actual news, they could prepare fresh button mushroom products of which 100 gram contain  80-100% of the vitamin D needs of an adult.

The research was completed in September 2013. In the last study, we investigated which are those kitchen operations and recipes that have the least harm to vitamin D content, because most of the vitamins decompose very easily at high temperatures. According to the tests, we can protect the vitamin content of mushrooms with sudden baking, short term steaming.

For vegetarians, regular consumption of wild mushrooms is highly recommended, American and Australian food scientists recommend a minimum of three times a week to eat mushrooms, especially button mushroom. Button mushroom is important not only due to the high content of vitamin D and ergosterol but also because of the high levels of minerals and essential amino acids and low calorie content.

Eat many times, at least three times a week, 100 grams of cultivated button mushrooms and sunbath consciously for our health and consume vitamin D-containing animal products and nutritional supplements!

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