Sources of Vitamin D

Sources of Vitamin D

In this article, we explore those foods that contain vitamin D in order to give you a list of the best foods to obtain all the most important nutrients for our organism.

Also known as calciferol, vitamin D is a type of fat-soluble vitamin which is mainly in charge of facilitating the intestinal absorption of calcium and balancing the body’s calcium/phosphorous levels. These two minerals are essential for the formation of bones, to the point that a deficiency of this vitamin can cause osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children.

However, the skeleton is not the only structure that is affected by vitamin D. Here you can find more information about the function of vitamin D in the organism and basically all you need to know, as well as the best supplements of vitamin D.

The Spanish Heart Organization warns of the need to maintain the plasma levels of this substance over 30ng/ml, by referring to the proportional relation between the low levels of this substance and the high risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension or diabetes.

The body obtains this vitamin from a pro-vitamin molecule, that is present in the skin when its exposed directly to ultraviolet rays of the sun. Considering that a 10 minutes exposure three times a week would be enough to satisfy our needs.

This physiological mechanism is quite important, since many people who are lucky due to their climate and phototype manage to meet these requirements of vitamin D this way. On the other hand, there are not many food products that contain remarkable quantities of this vitamin. In this article we will provide information about the food that is considered a good vitamin D source and the hsn_link tipo=”post” id=”51617″ anchor=”dose” title=”Vitamin D Dose. How much vitamin do you need?” target=”_blank” ] that each one will provide.

Vitamin D content in Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the most vitamin-rich foods, specially Vitamin D.

Certain types of edible fungi, such as Portobello, shiitake and common mushrooms, contain high amounts of vitamin D, which is supplied as a substance called ergosterol, which is suitable to be converted into vitamin D after sun exposure.

Shiitake a source of vitamin D

In fact, the consumption of this type of mushrooms can be as effective as supplementation with cholecalciferol tablets.

Specifically, the sun-dried version of shiitake mushrooms are very rich in this vitamin, due to its permeability to ultraviolet rays.

Vitamin D content in Mackerel

This fish is also among the best sources of vitamin D.

One portion of this blue fish provides 90% of the daily requirements, reason for which the most prestigious nutrition institutes recommend the regular consumption of this and other blue fish that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, due to the fat-soluble nature of this vitamin.

Vitamin D content in Red Salmon

Like mackerel:

A 100 gram portion of red salmon will provide 90% of the dietary reference for the consumption of vitamin D.

However, it is important to check that the specimen have been bred in a natural habitat, as this fish ingests abundant zooplankton which is where it obtains the raw material to become an important source of this vitamin.

Vitamin D content in Sardines

Sardines are a type of fish that are at the top of the list of food that contains vitamin D. Both fresh and tinned (preserved in oil), it is a reference for regulating our levels of this substance.

Eating a tin of sardines will supply you two thirds of the daily requirements.

Natural sources of vitamin D

Vitamin D content in Tuna

With the amount of 80 grams of red or white tuna we will cover half of our daily requirements of Vitamin D, specially if it is fresh fish. The oil preserved form is also a valid contribution, since 60 grams provides 25% of the daily requirements, which is a very interesting amount even if it does not reach the quantities of the fresh fish.

Vitamin D content in Cod liver oil

This lipid concentrate of a golden color, industrially obtained from Atlantic cod, is noteworthy for, among other important nutritional properties, its high percentage of vitamin D which has been obtained by the action of the sunlight. Additionally, it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which has been proven to contribute significantly to improving the brain capacity and the function of the nervous system. Its vitamin concentration is of such a calibre that 1 spoonful a day is enough to satisfy our body’s vitamin D demands.

Vitamin D content in Eggs

Egg yolk is one of the most important foods as a source of vitamin D, as one egg contains one fifth of the recommended daily amount. Recently published studies confirm the presence of 41 international units, in contrast to the previous thesis which claimed that it had a 65% less concentration.

Milk is also a source of Vitamin D

It has been proven that the intestinal absorption of vitamin D, that has been added in the industrial process of production of skimmed milk, is highly efficient. A decade ago the FDA (maximum American authority in food) approved the addition of vitamin D to milk and other drinks, in its country.

In practice, the importance of this fact can be seen in a 225ml of milk that has been enriched with vitamin D, which will provide close to 100 international units of this substance. Thus, a good way of providing our body with vitamin D via food, is by increasing the amount of milk that we consume.

Seafood a source of vitamin D

Seafood as a source of Vitamin D

  • Some crustaceans, such as shrimps or prawns, or some bivalve molluscs like oysters or clams, are characterised by their high concentration of vitamin D. In particular, the oysters stand out with their 320 international units per 100 grams of its meat, which is more than half the demanded amount.
  • Following a balanced diet and sunbathing for half an hour a day is enough to ensure a proper amount of vitamin D. Both these sources, food and ultraviolet radiation, are complementary, although not always do the circumstances allow to enjoy this joint action.
  • In 2010, the Institute of Medicine of the Unites States updated the recommendations on Calcium and Vitamin D consumption. The RDI for the latter was established in 600 international units a day for under 70 years old, and 800 IU for those who are older than this age.
  • As we may have noticed in the above list, vitamin d may be provided by both animal origin and vegetable origin food. In the case of animal origin products it is supplied in the form of vitamin D3, and in the case of vegetable origin products in the form of Vitamin D2.
  • Vitamin D3 is the form of vitamin D that our body can produce by itself and needs for its subsequent metabolization. However, Vitamin D2 can easily be transformed into vitamin D3, in such a way that both sources have a similar impact on health, although vitamin D3 is slightly more efficient because it binds better to the carrier molecules.
  • Similarly, it has to be taken into account that the sun is the main source of vitamin D and that food is of a secondary importance in the supply of this vitamin. Except for fish, most food products have relatively low quantities of vitamin D.

Related Entries:

Sources of Vitamin D Review

Mushrooms - 100%

Red Salmon - 100%

Seafood - 100%

Efficiency - 100%


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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
Under the motto “Knowledge Makes me Stronger”, Javier Colomer clearly expresses his intentions to share his knowledge and experience within the world of Fitness. His BPT training system is proof of this.
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