Getting calcium from your food and into your bones is a complex process. Adequate levels of vitamin D improves absorption in the gut as well as improving the body’s ability to use calcium to build bone.

Vitamin D comes from several sources. Sunlight, supplements, liver, cod liver oil, pasture raised eggs (factory-farmed eggs have only 1/8th the amount of vitamin D) shellfish, and fish, to name a few.

Typically, February is the month that human vitamin D levels are the lowest. Thanks to Christopher Hobbs, PhD and mycology (mushroom) expert and Maria Noel Groves, noted registered herbalist and author, here’s a cool way to get extra vitamin D into your diet. All you need are culinary mushrooms and a few hours of sunlight.

Several studies have shown that putting culinary mushrooms out in direct sunlight allows the mushrooms to absorb vitamin D from the sun. Mushrooms retain and transfer a form of vitamin D which is easily absorbed by the human body when cooked and eaten.

The exposed areas of the mushroom are what absorb the vitamin D, so Dr. Hobbs suggests slicing before “sunning” to have the maximum amount exposed surface area. Even “sunning” for 30-60 minutes can increase vitamin D blood serum levels.

Who knew?