I was very excited until I looked on this site – http://www.nourishingfoods.com/garden-of-life-vitamin-code-raw-prenatal-90-capsules.html – and it shows that the multi-vitamin actually contains vitamin D3, which, as far as i’m aware, is always animal derived.
Strange, because it says “vegan” on the box. Perhaps D3 can be made without animals? I can always call the company ask ask if their “Vegan” marked product is actually vegan.
I thought it was strange too. And all the other ingredients in the pills were great, so it was disheartening to see D3. I’ve not heard of a synthetic D3 except D2.
However, I just called Garden of Life (the vitamin company) and was assured that their D3 is vegan. Specifically, the person I spoke with said no D vitamin was added to the formula, that the vitamin D occurred naturally.
I couldn’t readily understand all the scientific jargon so the person I spoke with sent me the explanation in email form. This is what it says –
“Hope this will be helpful. The vitamin D in VIT∆MIN CODE products, is a single cell plant (yeast) rich in vitamin D3. There is no added vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol from sheep’s wool in our product. They yeast remains vegan. Our process audit confirms that our product includes raw vegan vitamin D3.
Yeast, particularly Baker’s Yeast, is a unique, vitamin-rich vegan food. In fact, in addition to many other vital and beneficial metabolites, Baker’s Yeast is among the best available sources of Vitamin D, especially D2. In our Vitamin Code “growing” process, Baker’s Yeast cells uptake (actually metabolize) Vitamin D3 via a unique peptide bonding process. The originating D3 is a USP commodity. The originating D3 does not remain in its native form, however. It is entirely re-natured through the Grow process. The re-naturing of D3 mimics the decomposition and re-uptake of nutrients in nature. Just as plant and animal matter all decompose and their nutrients are later assimilated by living plant tissue as it grows, the originating D3’s native composition decomposes, leaving the nutrient itself exposed and available for bonding, via specific peptides, to the Baker’s Yeast cells. The Baker’s Yeast up-takes the D3, assimilating it into its complex nutrient dense food matrix. The result is a raw vegan D3 (plus D2 and multiple other metabolites) delivered inside of the vegan Baker’s Yeast.”
Wow, I have to share this information with my husband! Thanks so much for this research. I just received their Calcium supplement today. It has D3 in it and it’s vegan, but I wanted to check before taking it. Looks like you beat me to the punch!
I am assuming that their Calcium formula’s D3 is vegan as well…
I appreciate your help!
I think there is another brand Upaya that claims vegan D3 also. And now Montery brand mushrooms say 100% of D3 on package. I have heard that if they grow mushrooms in sunlight that they will have D3. I am very hopeful that there will be tons of vegan D3 in the near future. This is something I have been worried about, as I don’t go in the sun at all (too much past exposure)…….
Just makes it that much easier to be vegan.
Someone I know called the Uppaya and they said that it was from lanolin. I think they sold a very expensive (80.00) one from mushrooms. I have read the mushrooms have D2 and somewhere else, D3.
I really don’t know at this point.
My concern here is about the original source of the D3. I have come across other articles that have shown that vegan d3 actually comes from lanolin (or other animal sources) that is put into yeast and then comes out “vegan” or “raw.” Upon closer reading, I think that’s what they might be saying here (in the email from the vitamin company). It’s late at night, so I can’t exactly call. But I’m a little suspicious now. But thank you to the person who did call and for posting it here.
I just don’t see why they would lie. Perhaps it has been newly discovered that D3 can be vegan sourced? I just can’t imagine Garden of Life would put out 9 different minerals and vitamins, call it “vegan”, and lie about it. I’d imagine they would get in trouble for that, no?
hello, and sorry to butt in…i love reading this blog and i think you’re doing really important work, breeze. i’m a vegan white girl and it makes me cringe to read that you get negative feedback from fellow vegans over your work with race. i appreciate that you get me thinking beyond my own experience. reading your work is 764488 times more interesting to me than the vast majority of mainstream vegan rhetoric out there. sorry for the long intro; i do have a comment about the vitamins…
my reading of the company’s email above leads me to believe that jessica is right. i suppose the company could argue that as long as the final product is vegan, it’s ok to use an animal product in its production if there’s no other way. i’m not sure that i’d agree, but the law might if it came to that.
the company’s email does seem intentionally vague about the Actual Source of the “originating D3.” “USP commodity.” uh-huh. nice how they rationalize with the bit about decomposition of plant & animal matter in nature.
So to be clear. D3 is always derived from the very onset from cholesterol. Only animals produce this, plants and Fungi produce ergosterols. They are different in shape etc.
“Plant sterols, phytosterols, are cholesterol-like compounds that are found mostly in vegetable oils, nuts and legumes. There are about 44 sterols known to exist in plants. The most abundant phytosterols are, however, beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol.”
Wikipedia list this paper as a source for cholesterol in eukaryotes and fungi
The paper isn’t all that exciting until you get to this (and only in regards to this conversation).
During sterol biosynthesis in eukaryotes, the initial C30 biosynthetic products primarily are lanosterol and cycloartenol. Extensive modifications lead to end-products such as cholesterol (C27; animals), ergosterol (C28; fungi), and sitosterol (C29; plants)
This is important to Veganism for one single reason, D3 in vegans is only produced in sunshine. “7-Dehydrocholesterol is the precursor of vitamin D3 and forms cholecalciferol only after being exposed to solar UV radiation.” 7-Dehydrocholesterol is a zoosterol that functions in the serum as a cholesterol precursor, and is converted to vitamin D3 in the skin, therefore functioning as provitamin-D3. The presence of this compound in human skin enables humans to manufacture vitamin D3 from ultra-violet rays in the sun light, via an intermediate isomer pre-vitamin D3. It is also found in the milk of several mammalian species.
Which if your still reading really means, you want vegan D3, you get some sun. D2 ONLY has been shown to reduce the risk of rickets. If you are looking for the health benefits of D3 you gotta look after your own skin.
So why would a company lie? Or be think that you can start with a non vegan source product an make it vegan. Simple, money. Which is funny since we all know that vegans make up the largest section of the populace right. BTW I do work for a competitor. We have vegan products, but we are honest and say our products that contain D3 are not vegan. I heard through the grapevine that Whole Foods Midwest region had forced them to pul the Raw products out of their stores and relabel them correctly.
One last note, serious health concern for all women. Get your blood levels checked for D3. they should Be in the 35-50ng/dl range. Keep it there your whole life and you will have healthier bones and a reduced risk of breast and colon cancers. I always tell my vegan friends here in the dark snowy Midwest, one 5 min session per month in a particular UVB spectrum tanning bed should protect you all winter, once it’s warm get it from the sun, or lick your cat and dogs (this is not a joke, read the vitamin d council article)!!!!
I feel so frustrated that Garden of Life lied to you.
Their website says something completely different from what their customer service rep told you.
There’s a reason that they’re called “Garden of Lies” by people who work in health food stores.
GOL is currently pulling all these “d3″ products from Whole Foods Markets…awful.
I guess to ensure that a product is actually vegan, one can simply purchase products that are “Certified Vegan” through the Vegan Society. I guess this is maybe why GOL didn’t seek out that certified vegan status. It reminds me that anyone can put “vegan” on a product but it needs to be certified vegan if one wants to guarantee this.
I am a vegan & a scientist. The Garden of life hand waving is a whole lot of BS. They claim it’s “vegan”, b/c they feed the yeast animal derived D3 from the same source *all* commercial D3 originates (lanolin). They claim it’s “vegan”, b/c the yeast ate it.
The dumb thing about it, is that you’d be better off just taking a plain old D3 supplement directly without the lengthy yeast feeding. Countless studies demonstrate both D2 & D3 are very readily bioavailable. You will never see a study by them comparing their product & plain ol’ D3 or D2 in raising 25OHD levels, b/c both work well.
The company relies on the raw vegans fear of science to sell an overpriced product.
That said, there are some metabolic differences between D2 & D3. From all the studies I have read
D2 is less toxic, but has a shorter 1/2 life in the body. That means it doesn’t have staying power. In one study the 50,000 IU standard doses of D2 cleared the body in 2 weeks, whereas the D3 kept 25OHD levels rising even after 30 days. Researchers believe lack of “binding affinity” to Vitamin D binding hormone is responsible in its reduced 1/2 life.
Biological efficacy between D2 & D3 varies from study to study with some saying they are equivalent to D2 being from 1.7 to 10x less potent, 4x less potent being about the mean.
Note: This does not mean D2 does not work. It just means it works less, and more may be required to maintain healthy Vit D levels.
The 50,000IU single dose may be vegan. Originally, D2 was used soley for this purpose (b/c of tradition) and D3 for daily supplementation.
Long term studies of 10,000IU/daily of either D2 or D3 show no adverse side effects. I was diagnosed with Vit D deficiency @20ng/mL a few weeks ago, and am self-medicating with 10,000IU D2 and I’ll get my 25OHD redone in a month.
If that doesn’t work, I’ll try a full spectrum UVA /UVB/Vis bulb in my bathroom. I’m naked at least 10 min /day in there. It’s just odd that so many people are vit D deficient when we make our own. We are doing something wrong.
That I know of, I have never been vitamin D deficient. I do spend A LOT of time outside, sunbathing when possible. Not just vegans, but many omnivores are Vitamin D deficient. Then again, I can’t imagine it’s a big problem in regions of the world where people spend a lot of time outside and not fully clothed.
They basically FEED animal derived D3 to the yeast and claim the D3 bound on the yeast is VEGAN. I think NOT.
Expanding on Bebe’s (and others) comment….
I have verified that despite Garden of Life’s claims, they are NOT vegan.
Their process is actually described quite well above.
Regardless of their assertions, this process, which matches outside information about their process, is ABSOLUTELY NOT vegan.
In essence they are adding Vitamin D3 of commerce as a precursor for vitamin D3. Since vitamin D3 of commerce is animal derived, the result is not vegan regardless of what biochemistry occurs. Indeed, if they had a vegan vitamin D3 source, they wouldn’t need to do this process.
Taking animal D3, binding it to another molecule, and then breaking the bond fails to change the fact that the input isn’t vegan. The lack of a legal definition to vegan means they can do this.
By this definition I cannot see why gelatin wouldn’t be considered vegan. I sure the cows appreciate that their molecules are re-arranged before being eaten.
By the way, for the Jewish readers (and I thank the large community of vegan African Jewish sects out there for their fantastic outreach – and wonderful restaurants), this logic is actually similar to the religiously sanctioned logic by which gelatin is considered parvine.
The gelatin must come from a kosher animal (not a pig), because they’re trefe (roughly unclean in God’s eyes). (By some authorities the animal MUST be kosher slaughtered).
When the clearly meat hide, bones, scraps or whatever are treated with chemicals to partially hydrolyze it, they are altered and become inedible. Since an inedible item isn’t dairy or meat, it comes back parvine at the end of hydrolysis.
Regardless of the fact that the fact the result is parve, it isn’t vegan. And neither is Garden of Life’s product.
P.S. Great blog. You are awesome Ms. Harper. If I can ever help you, just ask.
What does everyone recommend then, for a good prenatal vitamin?
Hello Guys ,
As for this prenatal product It is now currently under review to become labeled as part of the “Non GMO Project” .For those concerned mothers, that Is a HUGE success .
Information can be verified on http://www.nongmoproject.org
Search on the left side panel for garden of life (vendor)
Prenatal as search .
Now, I stumbled upon this blog because I was also in search of more answers, reviews, facts so I can become even further familiarized with this prenatal supplement . I do live in South , Fla near their corporate office in which In two separate occasions I consulted with a representative. I reviewed and clarified my questions, concerns, and research . They were very professional and helpful .
Here is the information I know and what nutritionist down here are telling me
*This is a plant derived supplementation made from organics
Now if you browse the website you will notice certain products are labeled as USDA organic or verified Non GMO Project stamped on the front .That Is very solid 411 so that’s good. On the prenatal product you will notice there is No certification labeled , I wondered why and asked and here is what they said. From what I understand there has been some minor changes in this product that will only benefit the consumer, at that point of time in making an informed decision on what supplement to choose .
* Vitamin d is currently being abstracted from sheep wool , so I guess somewhere in that process it becomes categorized as vegan .? * I suggest Do your own research .
* In addition I also asked if clinical trails were conducted on behalf of this product and if so, is this information publicized or internal ? There Is no clinical trails but, they strictly follow guidelines with the amount per serving of each nutrient to ensure the safety of the product .
In other words I have done my fair share of research , attended multiple go green seminars, and healthy living conferences In where Garden of Life’s product’s was ubiquitous with positive feedback . I have spoken with numerous nutritionist that state” I know there is room for improvement in the prenatal organic market but, This product is as good as it gets “! I also got thumbs up In approval with Two reputable OBGYN in both Miami and Pembroke pines that support the Non Gmo organic movement . With that said I hope this will help someone looking for answers to their questions .
* One more thing their Ocean moms DHA product is also being reviewed in becoming certified . Until then 15 min of sun will do the trick . Avoid sunblock guys so you can get the benefits of the sun , if you are going to be out for a long period of time Consider applying Hemp oil onto your skin , of course research it before trying .
Thanks. I appreciate this information. It sounds like that the number one concern from the comments below is: is it ‘vegan’ or not? Do you know? There is concern about the vitamin D. Thanks again.
I recently was told by a Dr to not consume any Organic Prenatals as the have the highest amount of lead. I refuse to be spooked at this point and I am still taking this prenatal until I find out more. Anyone know where I can find lead levels in Prenatal Pills?
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