So we went to the co-op to get our D3 supplements and came home with the co-op brand. I looked at the back of the label because I'm always curious about everything and saw this: Vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol from wool oil) 2000 IU. WHAT? What do they mean wool oil? Where does Vitamin D3 actually come from, I wondered? I began googling around and had my mind blown and my consciousness raised and thought I should share it here.
The only naturally occurring Vitamin D3 in food is found in fatty fish, and the most is found in cod liver oil. So, unless your Vitamin D3 label specifically says fish oil, it probably says cholecalciferol, which means it is from lanolin made from sheep wool. The process is rather bizarre:
Lanolin is derived from wool-bearing animals like sheep. To get vitamin D from lanolin, supplement manufacturers first purify it and crystallize it, then put it through a chemical process that produces a substance called 7-dehydrocholesterol. The 7-dehydrocholesterol is then liquefied in an organic solvent and exposed to ultraviolet radiation. These chemical changes turn 7-dehydrocholesterol into a substance called vitamin D-3. Next, supplement manufacturers further purify and crystallize this vitamin and add it to their products.
I had never heard of such a thing, but it's completely true. We are not opposed to deriving our Vitamin D3 from fish, but thought if we could get it from another source that didn't require an animal dying, that would be better. So, sheep wool seems fine because the sheep lives another day after its wool has been sheared. Still, the whole process seems more like science fiction than science.
|Photo borrowed from the internet|
(Many thanks to fellow blogger and raiser of beautiful sheep and lambs Rain at Rainy Day Thoughts for letting me use her beautiful photos.)