Vitamin D – The “Sunshine” Vitamin

Vitamin D (also referred to as “calciferol”) is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays important role in building and maintaining healthy bones and supporting a healthy immune system. Calcium, which is the primary component of bone, is absorbed when Vitamin D is present. 

The human body makes Vitamin D when in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of the vitamin for the body to be able to use. 

Most do not get enough Vitamin D through diet alone and living in the Northeast, our bodies are not making enough of it during the months between October-March.

 What foods contain Vitamin D?

Most Americans are unable to get enough Vitamin D in their diet because Vitamin D isn’t found in that many foods. Some foods that contain Vitamin D are mushrooms, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and fortified cereals/milks. 

Table 3: Vitamin D Content of Selected Foods [25]
(mcg) per
Units (IU)
per serving
Percent DV*
Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon34.01,360170
Trout (rainbow), farmed, cooked, 3 ounces16.264581
Salmon (sockeye), cooked, 3 ounces14.257071
Mushrooms, white, raw, sliced, exposed to UV light, ½ cup9.236646
Milk, 2% milkfat, vitamin D fortified, 1 cup2.912015
Soy, almond, and oat milk, vitamin D fortified, various brands, 1 cup2.5-3.6100-14413-18
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 1 serving2.08010
Sardines (Atlantic), canned in oil, drained, 2 sardines1.2466
Egg, 1 large, scrambled**1.1446
Liver, beef, braised, 3 ounces1.0425
Tuna fish (light), canned in water, drained, 3 ounces1.0405
Cheese, cheddar, 1 ounce0.3122
Mushrooms, portabella, raw, diced, ½ cup0.141
Chicken breast, roasted, 3 ounces0.141
Beef, ground, 90% lean, broiled, 3 ounces01.70
Broccoli, raw, chopped, ½ cup000
Carrots, raw, chopped, ½ cup000
Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce000
Apple, large000
Banana, large000
Rice, brown, long-grain, cooked, 1 cup000
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice000
Lentils, boiled, ½ cup000
Sunflower seeds, roasted, ½ cup000
Edamame, shelled, cooked, ½ cup000

* DV = Daily Value. The FDA developed DVs to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of foods and dietary supplements within the context of a total diet. The DV for vitamin D on the new Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels and used for the values in Table 3 is 20 mcg (800 IU) for adults and children aged 4 years and older [26]. The new labels must list vitamin D content in mcg per serving and have the option of also listing the amount in IUs in parentheses. FDA required manufacturers to use these new labels starting in January 2020, but companies with annual sales of less than $10 million may continue to use the old labels that list a vitamin D DV of 400 IU until January 2021 [28,29]. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient, but foods providing lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet.
** Vitamin D is in the yolk.

My recommendations?

I would advise the next time you go to the doctor to get your regular check-up and/or blood taken, that you ask to get your Vitamin D checked. Many people are walking around either in the insufficient or deficient category and don’t even realize it. 


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