Is Vitamin D Vegan? (How to Know for Sure)

vitamin d vegan

Where do supplemental vitamins come from?

Extractions are one of the oldest methods that are still being widely used in fortified foods, supplements, and cosmetic products. They are generated with the help of extraction technologies and equipment.

Reasons for opting to synthesize vitamin rather than extracting them

  • The synthetic processes are much cheaper
  • The relative scarcity of vitamins in natural sources. The levels of vitamins found in natural plant and animal sources can fluctuate quite a bit—vitamin D in fish oil is an exception.
  • The “organoleptic” (fancy word for taste, smell, etc.) properties of crude sources of vitamins can be undesirable.
  • Shelf-life is less than optimal.
  • The ease in which water-soluble vitamins tend to be lost by aqueous extraction
  • Many of the molecules are “labile” (unstable), so many lend themselves to damage in the process of harvesting, preserving, and storing them.

Chemical Synthesis 1

  • Pro‐vitamin A (carotenoids)
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone)
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Newer Methods

Various types of methods have been used and the trend has been increasing day by day. They are capable to create compounds like enzymatic. Microbial and biotechnological methods and processes.2

 Examples of vitamins/vitamin-like compounds include

  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol)
  • Vitamin K2 (menaquinone)
  • Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone)
  • Pyrroloquinoline quinine (PQQ)

Example of non-Vegan Vitamin D

  • Lanolin (Chemical Synthesis)

It is just a vitamin D3 which is more to be found in cereals and cornflakes. It is also found in orange juice and different types of vegetables. Vitamin D is very important source of diet for us as it helps to regenerate our body cells and helps our body cells to repair. 3

Example of Vegan Vitamin D

  • Mushrooms (Naturally Occurring)

The main source for vegan vitamin D is natural sunlight and mushrooms that are exposed by UV-sunlight. They contain higher amount of vitamin D which helps to improve the functions of our body. It enhances the body functions that are beneficial for both humans and animals.

D2 Supplements and Fortified Foods

Vitamin D2 helps to keep our bones stronger and helps to grow our height. Some of the vitamin companies use vitamin D in the form of D2 which is found in plant milk. Before buying any label, do check its label.

Vitamin D3 (Extraction)

When we talk about Vitamin D3, lichen is one of the best answers that contains higher amount of it. It is an organism that arises from cyanobacteria or algae that resides in fungi species.

 Tips for Ensuring Your Vitamin D Is Vegan-Friendly

The best way to ensure whether Vitamin D is vegan-friendly or not is by getting your food checked by a smart label organization that helps to detect the ingredients that are being consumed in food.

How to make Your Vitamins

It is not easy to generate and produce vitamin by your own which can be quite frustrating, however, it is possible to produce which is safer to consume as we do not know what ingredients are being added in supplements and being sold under the name of Vitamins, it is better to generate and produce on your own.5

Stick with Vitamin D2

Vitamin D2 and D3 are very much different from one and another but are similar in containing metabolism and functions in our body. Many individuals have issues related to using D2 to meet the needs of Vitamin D. Research has proved that vitamin D3 has higher metabolism which is essential to cause problems in later use. So it is advised to use vitamin D2 more than using Vitamin D3.6


  1. Jose L. Revuelta, Ruben M. Buy, Rodrigo Ledesma‐Amaro, and Erick J. Microbial biotechnology for the synthesis of (pro)vitamins, bio pigments, and antioxidants: challenges and opportunities. Microb Biotechnol. 2016 Sep; 9(5): 564–567.
  2. Demain A.L. (2000) Small bugs, big business: the economic power of the microbe. Biotechnol Adv 18: 499–514.
  3. Hoppe, Udo, ed. (1999). The Lanolin Book. Hamburg: Beiersdorf.
  4. “What is a lichen?”. Australian National Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 10 October 2014
  5. Collins E, Norman A. Vitamin D. In: Rucker RB, Suttie JW, McCormick DB, Machlin LJ, eds. Handbook of Vitamins. 3rd ed. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc. 2001 pp. 51–114.
  6. Gropper, Sareen S.; Smith, Jack L.. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (Page 394).


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