Is Vitamin D a Vitamin or a Hormone?

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Is vitamin D a vitamin or a hormone? And why is it so important to make sure you're getting it?

Despite what we have all been taught, vitamin D is technically not considered a vitamin—it’s a hormone. It plays an important role in bone metabolism, immune function, mood and behaviour regulation, and much more. 

“The dairy industry started adding vitamin D to cows’ milk to lure people to buy it in the early 1930s when rickets was a concern. We’ve been misled by the dairy industry into thinking that milk contains an abundance of vitamin D on its own, but that is not the case,” said Dr. Mills. “I’ll give that to the dairy industry. They are very inventive and effective with their marketing. They mislead and continue to hurt people with their messaging. We’ve got to counteract it with the truth in order to become or remain healthy." (Dr. Mills is a renowned advocate of plant-based diets who practices urgent care medicine in Washington, DC and has served as Associate Director of Preventative Medicine on the National Advisory Board for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine - quoted by Switch4Good.org) .
Another crucial note: it is impossible to obtain the recommended daily amount of vitamin D through unprocessed food.

Where can you find Vitamin D in Vegan Foods?
Fortified Soy Milk and Almond Milk:
Soy and almond milk are often fortified with vegan vitamin D2, but check the label to make sure. 
Tofu:
Again, check the label to make sure your tofu is fortified with vitamin D—it should provide about 20% of your recommended daily allowance, depending on the brand.


If you do go the supplement route, make sure that it is a vegan D3, which is more easily absorbed by the body. The other forms use lanolin (sheep’s skin). A vegan vitamin D3 sourced from a type of wild-harvested lichen which has the ability to produce vitamin D in the natural D3 form is newly available from Whole Earth and Sea, and Nordic Naturals.