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. 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.
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.