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Vitamin D and food

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Dietary sources of vitamin D are especially important. If you cannot go outside into the sun, or during the winter months in the US, you cannot get enough sun exposure to make vitamin D. At this point, your only options are dietary vitamin D or supplements.

Where is the most vitamin D in foods found?

Most foods containing significant amounts of vitamin D are of animal origin. Five egg yolks will give you half your recommended daily vitamin D (around 5 micrograms or 200 IU), and 100 g of oil-rich fish such as salmon contains between 50-100% of your daily recommended allowance (5-10 micrograms or 200-400 IU).

Are there vegan friendly foods containing vitamin D?

Yes! One of the only plant-based options is wild mushrooms, and a large handful (100 g in weight) would contain more than your daily recommended vitamin D (10-30 micrograms or 400-1200 IU). We should also add that some supermarket mushrooms will contain barely any vitamin D as they are actually grown in the dark! Milk usually has vitamin D added, so most soy, almond, and rice milk will contain around a quarter of your recommended daily vitamin D per cup (2.5 micrograms or 100 IU). Orange juice is commonly fortified with vitamin D, so it has a similar amount per cup as milk. Cereals also usually have small amounts of vitamin D added to them.

Is adding vitamin D safe?

Adding vitamin D to food has been done for a long time and is considered safe. America has added it to its milk since the 1930s and adds it to cereals, margarine, and more. Public health teams have thought that adding vitamin D to certain foods is the answer to targeting populations that are lower in vitamin D.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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