Foods that Contain Vitamin D

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About Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be produced by the body when it is exposed to sunlight. It also can be obtained through the consumption of various beverages and foods that contain vitamin D.

Vitamin D’s role in the body has been shown through research to be quite important. It helps build strong bones, but it does much more than that. It also aids in muscle strength, proper immune system function and the regulation of blood sugar and insulin.

Deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked to cancer, tuberculosis, type 1 diabetes, heart disease and multiple sclerosis, though researchers are not always sure why the link exists.

The recommended daily amounts of vitamin D a person should consume depends upon age. Males and females up to age 50 should have 5 mcg or 200 IU daily. This includes pregnancy and lactation for females. From age 51 to 70, the daily requirement increases to 10 mcg or 400 IU. Over age 71, the amount increases to 600 IU or 15 mcg.

The following is a list of some foods with high amounts of vitamin D in them. Some of the foods that made the list or didn’t make the list might be surprising.


Salmon is very high in vitamin D, with one four-ounce serving of baked or broiled Chinook salmon containing over 102 percent of the recommended daily value. This translates to 411 IU. Salmon is also high in tryptophan, omega-3 fatty acids and selenium. Other nutrients in salmon are protein, phosphorous, magnesium and vitamins B3, B6 and B12 (niacin, pyridoxine and cobalamin, respectively).


Shrimp are a great source of vitamin D, containing over 40 percent of the recommended daily value or 162.39 IU of it. This value is found in one serving of shrimp, which is the equivalent of four ounces that is steamed or boiled. There are 112.27 calories in one serving of shrimp.

Tryptophan, selenium and protein also are found in high amounts in shrimp. Other nutrients in shrimp include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B3 and B12, iron, zinc, copper, phosphorous and magnesium.


One serving of sardines is considered to be one 3.25 ounce can. One serving contains 62.6 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin D, or 250.24 IU. Sardines are also rich in vitamin B12, selenium, tryptophan, protein, calcium and phosphorous. One other nutrient found in sardines is vitamin B3. One serving of sardines contains 191 calories.


One serving of cod is considered to be four ounces of the fish baked or broiled. This one serving contains 119 calories and provides 63.50 IU or 15.9 percent of the recommended value of vitamin D. Other nutrients found in high amounts in cod are selenium, tryptophan, protein, vitamins B6 and B12, phosphorus and potassium. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B3 are also in cod.


Eggs are a good source of vitamin D, with one serving naturally containing over five percent of the recommended daily value or 22.88 IU. One serving is considered to be one egg that is whole.

Eggs are high in tryptophan, selenium, iodine, protein and vitamin B2. They also contain molybdenum, phosphorous and vitamins B5 and B12. One egg has 68.20 calories.

Milk & Other Vitamin D-Fortified Foods

One cup of two percent fat cow’s milk has 97.60 IU of vitamin D. This is 24.4 percent of the recommended daily value. This same cup of milk also contains 121.2 calories. Other nutrients that are in two percent cow’s milk include iodine, calcium, tryptophan and vitamins B2 and B12. Protein, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin A are also found in this type of milk.

Other fortified foods that contain vitamin D include orange juice, cheeses and breakfast cereals. These food products will be labeled as having been fortified with vitamin D.


Vitamin D. The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health.

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22. Vitamin D (IU) Content of Selected Foods per Common Measure, sorted alphabetically.

The Nutrition Source: Vitamin D and Health. Harvard School of public Health.