What Food Is Highest In Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins in the body, and it plays important physiological functions, primarily promoting the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus to maintain bone health. Vitamin D can be obtained from dietary sources, as well as through direct exposure to sunlight, where the skin produces most of the required vitamin D. It is involved in various aspects of health, from weight management to bone health, especially in calcium absorption.


Recommended Daily Intake

Vitamin D is essential for everyone, and it is recommended that children under 1 year old should have at least 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily, adults under 70 years old should have at least 600 IU of vitamin D daily, and older adults need at least 800 IU of vitamin D daily due to the risk of calcium loss with age. These are the minimum requirements, so seeking additional vitamin D may require vitamin D supplements, and it is important to choose vitamin D3 and follow reasonable standards to find vitamin D.


Which Populations Need More Vitamin D?


In addition to the elderly and those with calcium deficiencies, there are some specific populations that require higher doses of vitamin D.


Breastfed Infants: Infants who are breastfed or partially breastfed need to supplement 400 IU of vitamin D daily, as breast milk may lack vitamin D.

Elderly Individuals: As people age, the skin does not produce as much vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

People with Dark Skin: People with dark skin have a lower ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight.

Individuals with Digestive Disorders: Conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease can make it more difficult to absorb nutrients (including vitamin D) from food.

Obese Individuals: Those with high body fat are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, but the exact relationship is not clear.

Individuals with Gastric Bypass Surgery: This weight loss surgery bypasses a portion of the intestine responsible for absorbing vitamin D, making it harder for the body to absorb the vitamin.

Individuals with Chronic Kidney or Liver Diseases: These conditions can affect the body's ability to convert vitamin D into a form that cells can use.

Individuals Taking Medications that Affect Vitamin D Levels: These medications include certain cholesterol drugs, anticonvulsants, steroids, and weight loss drugs.


What Foods Have High Levels of Vitamin D?


1. Cod Liver Oil

One tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 1,360 International Units (IU) of vitamin D, which is 226% of the Daily Value (DV*). Cod liver oil is a rich source of essential nutrients, including vitamins D and A, and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.


2. Atlantic Herring

Three ounces of Atlantic herring contains 547 IU of vitamin D (91% DV*). Herring is a nutrient-rich food, high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential micronutrients, with low calories.


3. Sardines

A 3.75-ounce can of oil-packed Atlantic sardines contains 178 IU of vitamin D (30% DV*). Sardines are high in protein, heart-healthy fats, and essential nutrients like vitamin D, B12, selenium, and phosphorus.


4. Morel Mushrooms

One cup (66 grams) of morel mushrooms contains 136 IU of vitamin D (27% DV*). Morel mushrooms are a prized variety of edible mushrooms known for their rarity and rich flavor, which are harvested rather than cultivated.


5. Almond Milk

One cup (245 grams) of unsweetened pure almond milk contains 156 IU of vitamin D (26% DV*). Almond milk is nutritionally impressive, providing nearly 8 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin D, half the recommended intake of vitamin E, and a good amount of calcium.


6. Fortified Milk

One cup (245 grams) of low-fat milk (2% fat, fortified with vitamins A and D) contains 111 IU of vitamin D (19% DV*). Fortified low-fat milk has fewer calories than whole milk but higher vitamin content, also used in yogurt products.


7. Eggs

Two large whole eggs (grade A) contain 99 IU of vitamin D (17% DV*). Eggs, especially the yolk, are a significant source of protein that provides a rich array of essential nutrients, including selenium, vitamin B12, D, phosphorus, and riboflavin.


8. Yellowfin Tuna

A 3-ounce can of white albacore tuna canned in water contains 68 IU of vitamin D (11% DV*). Yellowfin tuna is low in calories but packed with protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants and essential micronutrients.


9. Beef Liver

Four ounces of beef liver contains 55.4 IU of vitamin D (9% DV*). Beef liver is a primary source of vitamin B12 and offers ample vitamin D. Research indicates it is also a major source of copper, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium in certain diets.


*Daily Value: Percent based on a diet of 2,000 calories per day.


In conclusion

Cod liver oil, Atlantic herring, sardines, morel mushrooms, almond milk, fortified milk, eggs, yellowfin tuna, and beef liver are among the highest vitamin D foods that can be incorporated into a balanced diet to meet daily vitamin D requirements.