Submitted By Matt Toth, Co-Founder of Blue Sky Fungi
Some of the magic of mushrooms is in the novel compounds that they produce and the effects that they can have on other organisms. In addition to magic, dense nutritional content is also a characteristic of mushrooms in the form of antioxidants, polysaccharides, essential minerals, B and D vitamins.
Vitamin D is present in many varieties of mushrooms at different levels. Much like human skin, when mushrooms are exposed to sunlight (UV light) they will increase the concentration of vitamin D2.
The effects of vitamin D to the human body include many beneficial responses to the immune system, bone health (calcium homeostasis), inhibition of cancer cell growth, stimulation of the pancreas to produce insulin, and reduction of hypertension. Humans can naturally produce vitamin D from exposure of the skin to sunlight. When sunlight is waning in the winter, vitamin D can be supplemented in your diet by eating sun-exposed or sun-dried mushrooms to promote these health benefits.
In 2004, Fungi Perfecti demonstrated that a Shiitake mushroom grown with exposure to sunlight would have approximately 10 times the level of vitamin D compared to a mushroom grown indoors. If mushrooms were sun-dried, they would produce almost 200 times the vitamin D as compared to being dried in a food dehydrator (Stamets, 2005). Even more was produced when the mushroom gills were directly exposed to the sunlight. This could be a useful strategy for preserving mushrooms that will boost your health when fresh food and sunlight are less available.
Matt is the co-founder of Blue Sky Fungi LLC, a geological engineer, and skydiving instructor. He and his partner, Nicole Marie, started the mushroom farm in 2018. When the sky is blue, you will find Matt skydiving, when it’s cloudy, you will find him working with the fungi and other terrestrial creatures. Matt is always looking for ways to experiment with, observe, and learn from the magical fungal kingdom. You can follow Matt’s skydiving and fungi adventures on Instagram @blueskyfungi or online at www.BlueSkyFungi.com