Vitamin D is an essential vitamin required by the body for the absorption of calcium, bone development, immune functioning, and alleviation of inflammation.
A deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to rickets, a weakened immune system, increased cancer risk, poor hair growth, and osteomalacia. Excess vitamin D can cause the body to absorb too much calcium, leading to increased risk of heart disease and kidney stones.
The current U.S. Daily Value for vitamin D is 600 IU (international units) and the toxicity threshold is thought to be 10,000 to 40,000 IU/day.2
Sometimes vitamin D values are given in micrograms (mcg,μg), when this is the case remember that 1μg=40IU for Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is oil soluble, which means you need to eat fat to absorb it. Foods high in vitamin D include fish, mushrooms exposed to sunlight, fortified milk, fortified milk substitutes, fortified tofu, fortified yogurt, fortified breakfast cereals, fortified orange juice, pork chops, and eggs. The amount of vitamin D can vary greatly in fortified foods, so check product labels before buying.
In addition to foods, Vitamin D is also naturally made by your body when you expose your skin to the sun and is called the sunshine vitamin. Depending on where you live, 20 minutes of sun exposure a day is enough to meet your vitamin D requirement.
|#1 Eel||317% DV (1901IU) in 1 fillet|
|#2 Cod Liver Oil||75% DV (450IU) in 1 tsp|
|#3 Queso Fresco||22% DV (132IU) in 1 cup|
|#4 Fortified American Cheese||14% DV (85IU) in 1oz slice|
|#5 Fish Roe||11% DV (68IU) in 1 tblsp|
|#6 Lean Ham||4% DV (26IU) in 1oz slice|
|#7 Beef Short Ribs||4% DV (24IU) in 3oz|
|#8 Caviar||3% DV (19IU) in 1 tblsp|
|#9 Lean Beef Roast||2% DV (14IU) in 3oz|
|#10 Turkey||2% DV (14IU) in 3oz|
|#11 Chicken||1% DV (7IU) in 3oz|
Vegetables high in vitamin D include mushrooms which have been exposed to sunlight. Other vegan foods high in vitamin D include fortified soy products like tofu, soymilk, and soy yogurt, fortified cereals, and fortified juices.
Unfortunately, no fruits are high in vitamin D, and fortified orange juice is currently the only fruit product commonly sold with vitamin D.