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Top 10 High Vitamin D Foods

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
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Top 10 High Vitamin D Foods

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 (%DV) for vitamin D is 20μg (micrograms) and the toxicity threshold is thought to be 250 to 1000 μg/day. (2)

Sometimes vitamin D values are given in IU (International Units), 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.

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.

Below is a list of top 10 foods highest in vitamin D by common serving size, for more see the nutrient ranking of 200 foods high in vitamin D.

High Vitamin D Foods

Salmon

#1: Fish (Salmon)

Vitamin D per 6oz FilletVitamin D per 100g
142% DV (28μg)84% DV (17μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cooked Sockeye Salmon

More Fish High in Vitamin D

-108% DV in 3oz of canned salmon
-95% DV in a 3oz rainbow trout fillet
-19% DV in 6oz tilapia fillet

See all fish high in vitamin D.
Crimini mushrooms

#2: Crimini Mushrooms (Exposed to UV Light)

Vitamin D per CupVitamin D per 100g
139% DV (28μg)160% DV (32μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Raw Crimini Mushrooms (Exposed To Sunlight Or UV)

More Mushrooms Exposed to Sunlight High in Vitamin D

-122% DV in 1 cup of portobellos
-98% DV in 1 cup of maitake
-92% DV in 1 cup of white button

Mushrooms create vitamin D from sunlight much like our bodies. Placing any mushroom under the sun for 20 minutes will boost its vitamin D level.

See the list of vegetables (mushrooms) high in vitamin D.
A glass of milk

#3: Fortified Milk

Vitamin D per 16oz GlassVitamin D per 100g
32% DV (6μg)7% DV (1μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Whole Milk
Buttermilk, whole milk, low-fat milk, and skim milk all provide around 30% DV per 16oz glass.

See all dairy foods high in vitamin D.
A glass of soy milk with soybeans

#4: Fortified Milk Substitutes (Soy Milk)

Vitamin D per 16oz GlassVitamin D per 100g
29% DV (6μg)6% DV (1μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Soy Milk

Other Fortified Milk Substitutes High in Vitamin D

-26% DV per 16oz glass of almond milk
-24% DV per 16oz glass of rice milk
-24% DV per 16oz glass of coconut milk
A block of tofu

#5: Fortified Tofu

Vitamin D per CupVitamin D per 100g
28% DV (6μg)13% DV (3μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Extra Firm Fortified Tofu
Plain yogurt with a raspberry

#6: Fortified Yogurt

Vitamin D per CupVitamin D per 100g
16% DV (3μg)7% DV (1μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Low Fat Fruit Yogurt (With Vitamin D)
A bowl of bran flakes

#7: Fortified Breakfast Cereal

Vitamin D per 3/4 CupVitamin D per 100g
12% DV (2μg)42% DV (8μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for General Mills Whole Grain Total
A glass of orange juice

#8: Fortified Orange Juice

Vitamin D per CupVitamin D per 100g
12% DV (2μg)5% DV (1μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Orange Juice With Added Calcium And Vitamin D
Note: A cup of orange juice contains up to 20 grams of sugar.
A pork chop

#9: Pork Chops

Vitamin D in 1 Pork ChopVitamin D per 100g
10% DV (2μg)5% DV (1μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Pork Chops (With Fat)

Other Pork Products High in Vitamin D

-11% DV per 3oz of spare ribs
-6% DV in 1 cup of lean ham
-5% DV in a bratwurst

See all meats high in vitamin D.
Eggs

#10: Eggs

Vitamin D in 1 Large EggVitamin D per 100g
6% DV (1μg)11% DV (2μg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Hard Boiled Eggs
-15% DV in 1 cup of chopped hard-boiled eggs.

See All 200 Foods High in Vitamin D

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A printable sheet of the top 10 foods highest in vitamin D.

People at Risk of a Vitamin D Deficiency

  • Breastfed Infants Who are Not in the Sun - The amount of vitamin D in breast milk depends on the amount of vitamin D in the mother. However, breast-milk typically does not contain adequate amounts of vitamin D. Be sure infants get some exposure to the sun (at least 10-20 minutes) to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D. (2)
  • Older Adults - As skin ages it is less and less able to make vitamin D from the sun, so vitamin D has to be attained from foods or supplements.(5)
  • People With Little Sun Exposure on the Skin - Wearing sunscreen, or lots of clothing, hampers the creation of vitamin D from the sun. (2)
  • People with Darker Skin - Melanin, a pigment found in skin, reduces the body's ability to manufacture vitamin D from the sun.(5)
  • People who have Problems Absorbing Fat, or are on Extreme Low Fat Diets - Vitamin D is fat soluble, which means it is found in fats, and your body has to be able to digest fats in order for you to absorb the vitamin D. (2)
  • People Who are Obese, or People Who have Had Gastric Bypass Surgery - Excess fat in the body absorbs vitamin D, effectively reducing the amount available for body functions. Those who have undergone bypass surgery are missing part of their upper intestine which hampers Vitamin D absorption.(2)
  • People Taking Certain Medications
    • Steroid Corticosteroid medications used to alleviate inflammation can reduce calcium absorption and impair vitamin D metabolism. (2)
    • Weight-loss drugs with orlistat as well as cholesterol-lowering drugs with cholestyramine can reduce the absorption of vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins. (2)
    • Medicines used to treat epileptic seizures, particularly phenobarbital and phenytoin, interfere with Vitamin D and reduces calcium absorption. (2)

What Fruits and Vegetables are High in Vitamin D?

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, soy milk, 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.

Warnings

  • Consuming too much vitamin D from food or supplements can lead to anorexia, weight loss, polyuria, heart arrhythmias, kidney stones, and increased risk of heart attacks. Vitamin D cannot reach toxic levels if created naturally from sun exposure. (2)

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin D
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