I’m Concerned About Developing a Vitamin D Deficiency

Oct. 2006, at 4:53 PM, Michele wrote:

Hi Rhio,

I have been transitioning to a 100% raw food diet (mostly vegan, except for bee pollen and cod liver oil (which is what my question is regarding). I just recently started taking the cod liver oil. I get very little sun exposure due to my life style, and I have been concerned about developing a vitamin D deficiency. (Note: I unfortunately had my gallbladder removed about 2 years ago.)

I recently started taking Carlson's Norwegian Cod Liver Oil which seems to be a very good brand and is recommended on the www.mercola site. I realize it is not a raw food, but my view on it is that it is a supplement to my 100% raw food diet and not a "food" … just as I view my B-12 supplement.

What are your thoughts on taking cod liver oil for vitamin D due to life style limitations? I have been taking 2 teaspoons a day about 4 times a week.

I cannot deal with raw egg yolks.

Thanks very much for your consideration.


Dear Michele,

I am not a practitioner of any kind, so please accept the following only as an exchange of ideas and information.

Sometimes people are in situations where they need a little help. In regards to B-12, it is not their fault that many vegans and non-vegans alike are deficient in B-12 because it has been shown that industrial pollution and the pollution created by catalytic converters in automobiles depletes B-12 reserves. You are doing the intelligent thing by supplementing.

In areas of low winter light or if you're not getting enough sunlight because of lifestyle choices, then I think you've made the right decision in including cod liver oil instead of a synthetic form of vitamin D. (The brand you've chosen is tested for a host of pollutants). There are also some foods, such as sunflower greens, wheatgrass juice, chickweed and others which contain Vitamin D. A list can be found in the Glossary of my book, Hooked on Raw. Unfortunately, most of the foods on the list may be either unfamiliar or hard to get for some people.

It probably seems incongruous to you to be on raw foods and yet have to include these types of supplements, but diets need to be tailored to individual situations and needs.

I would suggest you find a way to include natural sunlight on your body at least 2-3 times a week because it does so much more for the body than just produce Vitamin D. Sunlight provides a myriad of benefits that add up to tonifying the body's immune and glandular systems.

With blessings and peace,


PS I've subscribed you to my free monthly email hotline – if you want to unsubscribe, there is a link provided in each email.

Oct 31, 2006

Dear Rhio,

Thank you so much for the fast response … and I look forward to receiving your hotline e-mails. Thanks for adding me to the list! I do have a copy of Hooked on Raw … however, our dog liked it too (and literally chewed it up!) … however I still have it and portions are still in tact. I'll dig it up. It is an excellent book.

About Vitamin D — I currently grow wheatgrass and have been juicing it daily. I used to grow sunflower greens but discontinued because there was more work in growing and using them (those pesty shells) and I have been under the impression that wheatgrass is superior. I heard about Vitamin D possibly being in sunflower greens but did not feel instilled with confidence about there being enough to provide a substantial source. From where did you learn that sunflower greens is a source of Vitamin D? If I included a generous amount in my salad each day, or perhaps even juiced them, would that provide a substantial source of Vitamin D? I would absolutely be willing to grow sunflower greens again and give up the cod liver oil if I knew the sunflower greens were filling my vitamin D gap. (I do not like the "idea" of consuming cooked dead fish liver juice!)

About Vitamin B12 — I have been taking about 4 tablespoons of high quality bee pollen each day. It's my understanding that bee pollen contains B12. I wonder if that amount of bee pollen provides adequate bioavailable B12 without taking a supplement. What do you think?

I really like the idea of getting everything I need from raw whole food sources.

Thanks again, Rhio.


Dear Michele,

Wow, the dog chewed up my book. I haven't heard that before!!! 🙂

The questions that you are asking me are perfectly legitimate, the thing is, I don't know the answer to them. We would need to have some research done to find out what amounts of these excellent veggie foods would be adequate to maintain Vit D and B-12 reserves. Who is going to do that research?

I'm hoping one day to enlist the aid of a researcher to get the raw community some of these answers. Ann Wigmore worked with several researchers and that is how she came to understand the great healing value of wheatgrass juice and Rejuvelac. (Of course, she also had the experiential evidence from seeing the results of using these foods on people's health.)

A suggestion, if you are concerned about these two vitamins, you could have yourself tested and then you'll know where you're at. If there are no deficiencies, you could use the vegetarian sources for these vitamins and then have yourself tested again in a year to see if you're holding.

There is some information on good tests for Vitamin D at: www.mercola.com
just put in the words "tests for Vitamin D".

I learned about the plants that contain Vitamin D from reading books. If I found the information in more than a few books, I used it. Also, there was a government publication that was put out many years ago that listed foods and their nutrient values, I can't recall the name of it right now but I checked most of the foods on my list in there too.

With blessings and peace,


Nov. 2, 2006

Dear Rhio,

Thanks again for getting back to me so quickly, and in such detail. Your suggestion about getting my vitamin levels tested periodically is a great idea and would definitely help give me some peace of mind if I choose not to supplement.

Just knowing that course of action is available to me helps me relax about some of my worries.

Interesting that it is the SUN-flower that is a plant source of vitamin D.


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