Shiitake mushrooms have been long valued in many cultures for their health benefits, but the exceptional nutrition not only comes with fruiting, but can be "value-added" as well. The most remarkable of these is the ability of shiitake to accumulate Vitamin D when exposed to UV rays, whether synthetic or natural.
One interesting study looked at the use of pulsed UV light to increase vitamin D content in button, crimini, oyster, and shiitake. The results of this study demonstrated that, "after a very short exposure time of about 1 sec (system generates 3 pulses per second) the Vitamin D2 content of these mushroom varieties can be increased from very little to upwards of 800% DV/serving."
Another study mentioned by Aloha Medicinals noted that even in drying shiitake in the sun (a less intense form of UV exposure) for at least 3 hours led to an increase of Vitamin D by up to 5 times the normal amount. This means that through simple exposure we can increase the already impressive pallate of health benefits offed by shiitake.
What's the big deal with Vitamin D? The vitamin is converted in the liver and kidneys and in its active form supports maintaining blood levels of phosphorus and calcium while also promoting bone mineralization and absorption of calcium. It is also linked to supporting a healthy immune system and regulation of cell differentiation and growth.
Deficiency in Vitamin D is linked to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Those at risk for deficiency include infants who are exclusively breast fed, seniors, and people with limited sun exposure. Vitmin D deficiency is a very common occurrence among cancer patients.
Understory Mushrooms offers dried mushrooms by the ounce and we are also able to accommodate customers who want dried shiitake mushrooms as an option in a CSA share. All of our dried mushrooms will spend at least 3 hours in the sun and are finished in a conventional dehydrator, which means they can be safely stored for months at a time. Mushrooms can be picked up at locations in Trumansburg and Ithaca, NY and also mailed to ANY location in the Northeastern USA.