"While cholesterol averages perhaps 50 mg/kg total lipid in plants, it can be as high as 5 g/kg (or more) in animals."Also:
- Cholesterol And Plants, Journal of Chemical Education, 2005
"We now demonstrate that cholecalciferol* is formed in T. flavescens [a common grass] only in the presence of UV light, thus suggesting a similar path of synthesis in plants to that which occurs in vertebrates."* Cholecalciferol is vitamin D3.
Light-Dependent Synthesis Of Cholecalciferol In A Green Plant, Nature, 1980
I wondered what the source of New Chapter's vitamin D3 was, given the 100% vegetarian claim. From their site:
"New Chapter’s Probiotic Nutrients™ Made with Organic Ingredients do not meet strict vegan standards as the vitamin D utilized for culturing with organic whole food ingredients in our vitamin D-containing products is derived from wool wax."Is wax from sheep's wool vegetarian?
I was curious how vitamin D3 is made from sheep's wool. Harvesting of the wool itself doesn't look to be a very humane undertaking.
I found this process from Vitamin D Wiki:
- Wool is sheared from mature, live sheep.
- Crude lanolin is extracted from the wool using a scouring process, during which the fleece is washed in hot water with a detergent.
- Crude lanolin undergoes a saponification process; this separates the fatty component which is removed via centrifugation, from the ‘unsaponifiable’ component, known as ‘lanolin alcohols’. These undergo further steps of saponification and separation to increase purity.
- Crude cholesterol is extracted from lanolin alcohol using solvent washes and / or column chromatography.
- The crude cholesterol undergoes a series of further solvent extractions, washes and drying until it is extremely pure and crystalline. This purified cholesterol has been assessed as being fully compliant with the quality required for pharmaceutical manufacture by the European Directorate for Quality of Medicines.
- Purified cholesterol is then taken through a four-step chemical process to make 7-Dehydrocholesterol, this is otherwise known as ‘pre-Vitamin D3’
- Next, the pre-Vitamin D3 is irradiated to produce Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol); this is the same reaction that is used by human skin to manufacture the vitamin from sunlight. Finally, the pure crystals of Vitamin D3 are used to make the stabilized product forms that can be used to manufacture dietary supplements and other end use applications such as foods and beverages."
That's a fairly involved process. Can a supplement that involves inhumane harvesting, industrial detergents, solvents, bleaches, deodorants, and irradiation be good? I don't know. But lots of people are saying we should take vitamin D3, and most of the vitamin D3 in supplements comes from sheep's wool.
Photo by Heather Faulkner.