Vitamin D mushrooms to be released nationally following research findings

Saturday, 10 March, 2012

Australian mushroom growers have been encouraged to accelerate the national release of vitamin D mushrooms following research that suggests pregnant women lacking vitamin D are twice as likely to have children with language difficulties.

Vitamin D mushrooms are already available in Sydney but should be available throughout the country in the next few months, according to the Australian Mushroom Growers’ Association (AMGA).

Mushrooms, along with the human body, are unique in their ability to convert the sun’s rays into vitamin D. Growers have been mimicking nature by exposing mushrooms to a short burst of ultraviolet light to generate the vitamin.

“Our new mushrooms would be the most natural vitamin D supplement a pregnant woman could take - just three vitamin D mushrooms a day is all that’s needed,” said Greg Seymour, General Manager of the AMGA.

Research from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth has revealed the impact of low vitamin D levels in pregnant mothers on their childrens’ language development. Published in the international journal Pediatrics, the research is the largest study of its kind to link a mother’s vitamin D levels and the effect on her child’s speech and behavioural development. Lead author of the study Professor Andrew Whitehouse said the next step is to determine whether vitamin D supplements taken during pregnancy could resolve the problem.

Millions of Australians are believed to have inadequate levels of vitamin D, a problem exacerbated by the increased use of sunscreen, which blocks the sun’s rays, and increased time spent indoors during daylight hours. Health issues caused by insufficient levels of the vitamin include high blood pressure and increased risk of breast, kidney and prostate cancer and rickets.

“Eating just three of the mushrooms a day provides the recommended daily intake of vitamin D essential for healthy bones and the prevention of disease,” Seymour said.

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