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Foods rich in vitamin D

The main food sources of vitamin D are meats, fish and seafood, such as salmon, sardines and shellfish, and other foods such as eggs, milk, liver, cheeses and mushrooms. In addition to food, another main source of production of this vitamin is exposing the skin to the sun, and that is why it is important to sunbathe daily for about 15 minutes.

Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in the intestine. It is important for strengthening bones and teeth, as well as preventing diseases such as rickets, osteoporosis, cancer, heart problems, diabetes and hypertension. See other vitamin D functions.

Foods rich in vitamin D

Amount of vitamin D in food

Foods rich in vitamin D are especially of animal origin, and the following table shows the amount of this vitamin in every 100 g of food.

Foods rich in Vitamin DPortionAmount of Vitamin DEnergy
Cod liver oil13,5 g34 mcg118 calories
Cooked salmon100 g12,5 mcg271,4 calories
Raw oysters100 g8 mcg81 calories
Fresh herring100 g23,57 mcg228,5 calories
Fortified powered milk100 g6,92 mcg500 calories
Boiled egg100 g1,3 mcg156 calories
Chicken liver100 g1,31 mcg136,9 calories
Canned sardines100 g7,5 mcg296,4 calories

A healthy adult needs to consume an average of 15 mcg a day of Vitamin D while the elderly need 20 mcg/day.

Vitamin D for vegetarians

Vitamin D is only present in foods of animal origin, and so it is not possible to find it in vegetable sources such as fruits, vegetables and grains like rice, wheat, oats and quinoa. So, vegans, who are vegetarians and who do not consume eggs, milk and dairy products, need to get their vitamin D through sunbathing daily or through supplementation prescribed by their doctor or nutritionist.

When to take Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D supplements should be used when the amount of this vitamin in the blood is below the normal values. In order to get this information it is necessary to do a blood test.

A doctor or dietitian may then recommend the use of pill or drop supplements, which should be taken according to medical advice. In general, vitamin D deficiency is a common problem, which can increase the risk of problems such as infertility, bone weakness, cancer and heart problems.

Bibliography >

  • COMPOSIÇÃO DE ALIMENTOS. Plataforma Portuguesa de Informação Alimentar. Available on: <http://portfir.insa.pt/foodcomp/food?1094>. Access in 16 Apr 2019
  • COZZOLINO Silvia. Biodisponibilidade de nutrientes. 4º. Brasil: Manole Ltda, 2012. 343-361.
  • JIMÉNEZ Arturo; CERVERA Pilar; BACARDÍ Monstserrat. Tabla de Composición de Alimentos. Barcelona, España: Norvartis Consumer Health S.A, 2004. 34-39.
  • MAEDA, Sergio S. et al. Recomendações da Sociedade Brasileira de Endocrinologia e Metabologia (SBEM) para o diagnóstico e tratamento da hipovitaminose D. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metab. Vol.58(5). 411-433, 2014
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