Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin D


Vitamin D is an essential vitamin required by the body for the proper absorption of calcium, bone development, control of cell growth, neuromuscular functioning, proper immune functioning, and alleviation of inflammation. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to rickets, a disease in which bones fail to properly develop. Further, inadequate levels of vitamin D can lead to a weakened immune system, increased cancer risk, poor hair growth, and osteomalacia, a condition of weakened muscles and bones. Conversely, excess vitamin D can cause the body to absorb too much calcium, leading to increased risk of heart attack and kidney stones. The current U.S. DV for vitamin D is 600 IU (international units) and the toxicity threshold for vitamin D is thought to be 10,000 to 40,000 IU/day.2 Sometimes vitamin D values are given in micrograms (mcg,μg), 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. It is naturally found mainly in fish oils, fatty fish, and to a lesser extent in beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and certain mushrooms. Vitamin D is also naturally made by your body when you expose your skin to the sun, and thus, is called the sun-shine vitamin. In addition, vitamin D is widely added to many foods such as milk and orange juice, and can also simply be consumed as a supplement. Below is a list of high vitamin D foods, for more see the list of foods rich in vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) and foods rich in vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol).

#1: Cod Liver Oil
Vitamin D 100g Per tablespoon (14g)Per teaspoon (5g)
10,000IU (1667% DV)1,400IU (233% DV)500IU (83% DV)
A tablespoon of cod liver oil also provides: 280% DV for Vitamin A and 2894mg Omega-3 fats. Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#2: Oily Fish (Trout, cooked)
Vitamin D 100g Per fillet (71g)Per 3oz (85g)
759IU (127% DV)539IU (90% DV)645IU (108% DV)
Other Oily Fish High in Vitamin D (%DV per 3oz, cooked): Smoked Salmon (97%), Swordfish (94%), Canned Trout (86%), Salmon (75%), Smoked White Fish (73%), Mackerel (65%), Canned Mackerel (43%), Tuna Canned in Oil (38%), Halibut (33%), Herring (30%), Sardine (27%), Rockfish (26%), Tilapia (21%), Sole & Flounder (20%), and Tuna Steak (12%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#3: Mushrooms (Portabello)
Vitamin D 100g Per cup, diced (86g)Per mushroom (84g)
446IU (74% DV)384IU (64% DV)375IU (63% DV)
Other Mushrooms High in Vitamin D (%DV per cup): Maitake (131%), Morel (23%), Chanterelle (19%), Oyster (4%) and White (1%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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#4: Fortified Cereals (Whole Grain Total)
Vitamin D 100g Per serving (30g)Per ounce (28g)
333IU (56% DV)100IU (17% DV)93IU (16% DV)
Other Fortified Cereals High in Vitamin D (%DV per serving): Total Raisin Bran (17%), Kelloggs Raisin Bran (15%), Kelloggs Rice Krispies (14%), Kelloggs Frosted Flakes & Kelloggs All Bran (9%), Lucky Charms, Cheerios, Kelloggs All-Bran Complete Wheat Flakes & Special K (7%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#5: Tofu (Firm, Lite)
Vitamin D 100g Per 1/5 package (79g)Per 3oz (85g)
157IU (26% DV)124IU (21% DV)132IU (21% DV)
Other Tofu and Soy Foods High in Vitamin D (%DV per 3oz): Lite Silken Tofu (21%), Sprouted Tofu, Extra Firm Tofu & Firm Tofu (14%), and Soy Yogurt (3%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#6: Caviar
Vitamin D 100g Per ounce (28g)Per tablespoon (16g)
117IU (20% DV)33IU (6% DV)19IU (3% DV)
An ounce of Caviar contains: Just 74 calories and 1g of saturated fat. Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#7: Dairy Products (Queso Fresco)
Vitamin D 100g Per cup (122g)Per 1/2 cup (61g)
110IU (18% DV)134IU (22% DV)67IU (11% DV)
Other Dairy Products High in Vitamin D (%DV per cup): Butter (23%), Buttermilk, Fortified Low Fat Fruit Yogurt, Fortified Milk & Fortified Goats Milk (21%), Fortified Semi-Skimmed Milk (20%), Fortified Skimmed Milk (19%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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#8: Pork (Extra Lean Ham)
Vitamin D 100g Per ounce (28g)Per 3oz (85g)
93IU (16% DV)26IU (4% DV)78IU (12% DV)
Other Pork Products High in Vitamin D (%DV per 3oz, cooked): Spare Ribs (15%), Turkey & Pork Sausage (12%), Pork Shoulder (9%), and Pork Loin (8%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#9: Eggs (Hard Boiled)
Vitamin D 100g Per cup, chopped (136g)Per egg (50g)
87IU (15% DV)118IU (20% DV)44IU (7% DV)
Other Eggs High in Vitamin D (%DV per egg): Raw, Scrambled, Poached and Omelet (7%), Duck Egg (8%), and Goose Egg (16%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#10: Dairy Alternatives (Plain Soy Yogurt)
Vitamin D 100g Per container (227g)Per cup (245g)
53IU (9% DV)120IU (20% DV)130IU (22% DV)
Other Dairy Alternatives High in Vitamin D (%DV per cup): Soymilk (20%), Almond Milk, Chocolate Almond Milk, Nonsoy Imitation Milk, Rice Drink (17%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.








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Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) Rich Foods
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Maitake Mushrooms 1124IU (28.1g) per 100 gram serving 787IU (19.7g) per cup, diced (70 grams) 11IU (0.3g) per mushroom (1 gram) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Maitake Mushrooms
Portabella Mushrooms (Grilled)524IU (13.1g) per 100 gram serving 634IU (15.9g) per cup, sliced (121 grams) 317IU (8.0g) per 1/2 cup, sliced (61 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Portabella Mushrooms
Chanterelle Mushrooms 212IU (5.3g) per 100 gram serving 114IU (2.9g) per cup (54 grams) 11IU (0.3g) per mushroom (5 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Chanterelle Mushrooms
Morel Mushrooms 204IU (5.1g) per 100 gram serving 135IU (3.4g) per cup (66 grams) 26IU (0.7g) per mushroom (13 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Morel Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms (Cooked)28IU (0.7g) per 100 gram serving 41IU (1.0g) per cup, pieces (145 grams) 20IU (0.5g) per 4 mushrooms (72 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Shiitake Mushrooms
Soy Milk (Fortified)48IU (1.2g) per 100 gram serving 117IU (2.9g) per cup (243 grams) 59IU (1.5g) per 1/2 cup (122 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Fortified Soy Milk
Milk Imitation (Nonsoy, Fortified)44IU (1.1g) per 100 gram serving 107IU (2.7g) per cup (244 grams) 14IU (0.3g) per fluid ounce (31 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Milk Imitation
Rice Drink (Fortified)40IU (1.0g) per 100 gram serving 96IU (2.4g) per 8 fl oz (240 grams) 48IU (1.2g) per 4 fl oz (120 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Rice Drink
Oyster Mushrooms 28IU (0.7g) per 100 gram serving 24IU (0.6g) per cup (86 grams) 4IU (0g) per mushroom (15 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Oyster Mushrooms
Mushroom Soup (Condensed)8IU (0.2g) per 100 gram serving 20IU (0.6g) per cup (258 grams) 10IU (0.3g) per 1/2 cup (129 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Mushroom Soup

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) Rich Foods
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Raw Fish (Halibut)1096IU (27.4g) per 100 gram serving 2236IU (55.9g) per 1/2 fillet (204 grams) 932IU (23.3g) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Fish
Mackerel (Salted)1008IU (25.2g) per 100 gram serving 806IU (20.2g) per piece (80 grams) 171IU (4.3g) per 1 inch cube (17 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Salted Mackerel
Eel (Raw)932IU (23.3g) per 100 gram serving 1901IU (47.5g) per fillet (204 grams) 792IU (19.8g) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Eel
Canned Fish (Salmon)860IU (21.5g) per 100 gram serving 2124IU (53.1g) per can (247 grams) 731IU (18.3g) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Canned Fish
Cooked Fish (Rainbow Trout)760IU (19.0g) per 100 gram serving 540IU (13.5g) per fillet (71 grams) 646IU (16.2g) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cooked Fish
Smoked Salmon684IU (17.1g) per 100 gram serving 192IU (4.8g) per ounce (28 grams) 582IU (14.5g) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Smoked Salmon
Fortified Cereals 332IU (8.3g) per 100 gram serving 100IU (2.5g) per serving (30 grams) 93IU (2.3g) per ounce (28 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Fortified Cereals
Processed Cheese (Fortified)300IU (7.5g) per 100 gram serving 84IU (2.1g) per ounce (28 grams) 63IU (1.6g) per slice (21 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Processed Cheese
Egg Yolk216IU (5.4g) per 100 gram serving 525IU (13.1g) per cup (243 grams) 37IU (0.9g) per yolk (17 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Egg Yolk
Caviar116IU (2.9g) per 100 gram serving 32IU (0.8g) per ounce (28 grams) 18IU (0.5g) per tablespoon (16 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Caviar
Queso Fresco 108IU (2.7g) per 100 gram serving 132IU (3.3g) per cup (122 grams) 66IU (1.7g) per 1/2 cup (61 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Queso Fresco
Spare Ribs (Pork, cooked)104IU (2.6g) per 100 gram serving 183IU (4.6g) per piece (177 grams) 88IU (2.2g) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Spare Ribs
Lard100IU (2.5g) per 100 gram serving 205IU (5.1g) per cup (205 grams) 13IU (0.3g) per tablespoon (13 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Lard

▼ Health Benefits of Vitamin D
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  • Osteoporosis Protection - Vitamin D is necessary for the proper absorption of Calcium which strengthens bones and helps to prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D mainly benefits older adults, people who have difficulty exercising, postmenopausal women, and individuals on long term steroid therapy.3,4
  • Decreased Cancer Risk - Vitamin D has been shown to reduce cancer risk, particularly for colon cancer.5-7

▼ People at Risk of a Vitamin D Deficiency
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  • 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 at least some exposure to the sun (at least 10-20 minutes) to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D.8
  • 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.9,10
  • 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.11
  • 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.5,13,14
  • People Taking Certain Medications
    • Steroid Corticosteroid medications used to alleviate inflammation can reduce calcium absorption and impair vitamin D metabolism.15-17
    • Weight-loss drugs with orlistat (brand names Xenical and alliTM) and cholesterol-lowering drugs cholestyramine (brand names Questran, LoCholest, and Prevalite) can reduce the absorption of vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins.18,19
    • Medicines used to control and stabalize epileptic seizures, particularly phenobarbital and phenytoin (brand name Dilantin) interferes with Vitamin D and reduces Calcium absorption.20

▼ Warnings
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  • Consuming too much vitmain D from food or supplements can lead to anorexia, weight loss, polyuria, heart arrhythmias, kidney stones, and increased risk of heart attacks.5 Vitamin D cannot reach toxic levels if created naturally from sun exposure.21
  • Oysters, Whole Milk, Salami, Cheese, Caviar, and Eggs are high cholesterol foods which should be eaten in moderate amounts and avoided by people at risk of heart disease or stroke.

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▼ References
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  2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin D
  3. Heaney RP. Long-latency deficiency disease: insights from calcium and vitamin D. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:912-9.
  4. LeBoff MS, Kohlmeier L, Hurwitz S, Franklin J, Wright J, Glowacki J. Occult vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal US women with acute hip fracture. JAMA 1999;251:1505-11.
  5. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
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  10. Webb AR, Pilbeam C, Hanafin N, Holick MF. An evaluation of the relative contributions of exposure to sunlight and of diet to the circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in an elderly nursing home population in Boston. Am J Clin Nutr 1990;51:1075-81.
  11. Lo CW, Paris PW, Clemens TL, Nolan J, Holick MF. Vitamin D absorption in healthy subjects and in patients with intestinal malabsorption syndromes. Am J Clin Nutr 1985;42:644-49.
  12. Malone M. Recommended nutritional supplements for bariatric surgery patients. Ann Pharmacother 2008;42:1851-8.
  13. Compher CW, Badellino KO, Boullata JI. Vitamin D and the bariatric surgical patient: a review. Obes Surg 2008;18:220-4.
  14. Buckley LM, Leib ES, Cartularo KS, Vacek PM, Cooper SM. Calcium and vitamin D3 supplementation prevents bone loss in the spine secondary to low-dose corticosteroids in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 1996;125:961-8.
  15. Lukert BP, Raisz LG. Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis: pathogenesis and management. Ann Intern Med 1990;112:352-64.
  16. de Sevaux RGL, Hoitsma AJ, Corstens FHM, Wetzels JFM. Treatment with vitamin D and calcium reduces bone loss after renal transplantation: a randomized study. J Am Soc Nephrol 2002;13:1608-14.
  17. McDuffie JR, Calis KA, Booth SL, Uwaifo GI, Yanovski JA. Effects of orlistat on fat-soluble vitamins in obese adolescents. Pharmacotherapy 2002;22:814-22.
  18. Compston JE, Horton LW. Oral 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in treatment of osteomalacia associated with ileal resection and cholestyramine therapy. Gastroenterology 1978;74:900-2.
  19. Gough H, Goggin T, Bissessar A, Baker M, Crowley M, Callaghan N. A comparative study of the relative influence of different anticonvulsant drugs, UV exposure and diet on vitamin D and calcium metabolism in outpatients with epilepsy. Q J Med 1986;59:569-77.
  20. Jones G. Pharmacokinetics of vitamin D toxicity. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;88:582S-6S.