Vitamin D in Foods

What is vitamin D good for?

Vitamin D is unusual because it is the only vitamin the human body can synthesise following exposure to sunlight. Therefore while it is important to eat foods high in vitamin D, this isn’t the only way to obtain enough of this important nutrient. It follows however, that certain groups of people are less likely to obtain their vitamin D from sunlight, so as well as paying attention to their diet these groups may benefit from supplements.

If you want further information on the sources and benefits of vitamin D, together with the symptoms and risks of the associated deficiency, you may be interested in our dedicated page which has a wealth of information about this fascinating vitamin.

What does vitamin D do?

This essential nutrient is important to the human body for a number of reasons. Probably the most vital is that it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed in turn to produce strong and healthy bones and teeth. Not only this, but it helps facilitate immune system function and provides improved resistance against certain diseases as well as fighting infections.

However, there aren’t a great many foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D, which isn’t good news if you are on a restricted diet. Thankfully, as with a lot of other vitamins, fortified products – ones which have vitamins or other ingredients added to them while they are processed – such as cereals and spreads are an easy way of getting sufficient nutrients into your diet. If you aren’t sure whether a product contains vitamin D or not you can always check the nutritional values on the label.

RDI Vitamin D

  • 15µg (600 IU) Adults up to 70 years
  • 20µg (800 IU) Adults over 70 years
  • 15µg (600 IU) Children 4-18 years
  • 15µg (600 IU) Toddler 1-3 years
  • 10µg (400 IU) Infants 0-12 months

Vitamin D Foods List

Foods high in vitamin D

Here is the part of the page where we list some of the best foods with vitamin D in. As you will see, many of these are seafoods, and the top edible source of vitamin D is actually an oil, which is why you will often see cod liver oil capsules for sale as food supplements.

So without further delay, here is our top Vitamin D rich foods list. All amounts are per 100 g (3.5 oz) unless otherwise stated. 40 IU (international units) are equivalent to 1 µg.

  • Cod liver oil – 10,000 IU per 100 g, or 1 tablespoon (14 g) contains 1,360 IU of vitamin D.
  • Mushrooms, maitake – 1124 IU
  • Mackerel, salted  – 1009 IU
  • Salmon, canned – 860 IU
  • Salmon, smoked – 684 IU
  • Mushrooms, portobello – 466 IU
  • Sardine oil – 332 IU
  • Tuna, canned  – 236 IU
  • Oysters – 320 IU
  • Fortified cereal – approximately 340 IU

If there’s nothing here that appeals to you, don’t worry. While these are some of the richest sources of vitamin D, our next section includes many more items from different food groups.

Other vitamin D foods

Lists of foods by type

These foods still have vitamin D in but much less those mentioned above. When they are combined and eaten regularly though, they are going to help go a long way to ensuring that you reach your recommended daily intake (RDI)  Remember, it’s not just foods high in vitamin D that contribute to your total intake, any foods that contain the nutrient are going to help you.

  • Beef tenderloin, 11 IU
  • Catfish, raw – 500 IU
  • Caviar – 117 IU
  • Cheese, edam – 36 IU
  • Cheese, swiss – 44 IU
  • Cod, atlantic – 36 IU
  • Cream, heavy – 52 IU
  • Egg yolk – 216 IU
  • Eggs, hard boiled – 87 IU
  • Ham, extra lean – 93 IU
  • Herrings, pickled – 113 IU
  • Liver, beef – 49 IU
  • Margarine, fortified
  • Milk, fortified
  • Milk, powdered – 20 IU
  • Orange juice, fortified – 57 IU
  • Salami – 41 IU
  • Sausages, cooked – 28 IU
  • Shrimps – 152 IU
  • Soy milk – 48 U
  • Soy yoghurt, plain – 53 IU
  • Tofu, firm – 157 IU

As you can see there are plenty of items on our vitamin D rich foods list to choose from, particularly if you are a fan of seafood and dairy products.

If you want to find out more please visit our page on vitamin D deficiency and symptoms.