Vitamin D is made from wool grease. Photo by Jose Lorenzo Muñoz

Vitamin D deficiency is a huge problem in the United States.  It is estimated that 75% of Americans are deficient in this crucial vitamin.  It is useful for carrying out endless functions in the body and for maintaining optimal health.  

Most people are unaware of the fact that most vitamin D sold in supplements comes from wool grease. Yes, an icky, sweaty substance from a farm animal is heated irradiated and mixed with many different chemicals.  This doesn’t sound like something a normal person would want to put into their body but here’s how they make ‘Natural Vitamin D.’  

A healthy sheep will produce up to 30 pounds of wool annually.  This crude lanolin (yes that’s the non-gross word they use) is extracted from the wool using a scouring process, during which the fleece is washed in hot water with a detergent.  They then saponificate the grease which separates the fatty component which is removed via centrifugation from the ‘unsaponifiable’ component (referred to as ‘lanolin alcohols’).  These separating procedures are repeated thus further separating the elements. A remaining crude cholesterol is then extracted from lanolin alcohol using solvent washes and column chromatography. 

The crude cholesterol then goes through a series of further solvent extractions, washes and drying until it is crystalline.  The purified compound is then taken through a four-step chemical process to make what is then considered to be pre-vitamin D3.

They next irradiate the pre-Vitamin D (mimicking the actions of  a humans skin interaction with the sun) to produce Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Finally, these pure crystals of Vitamin D3 are used to make the stabilized product forms that can be used in supplements. This is actually how most vitamin D supplements are made- take grease from a sheep then irradiate it after dozens of chemical adding steps. 

All of the vitamin D found in our products are made using lichen and mushrooms. Mushrooms produce heavy vitamin D2 content using the uv light from the sun and lichen (a symbiotic organism that is part fungi part algae) performs a similar function which helps it become dense in D3. These naturally occuring forms of vitamin D are contained in our Multivitamin, Zinc Immune Support and Vegan D.

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