Vitamin D can be obtained from the consumption of fish liver oil, meat and seafood. However, although it can be obtained from animal foods, the main source of vitamin production is through exposure of the skin to the sun’s rays, and therefore it is important that the skin is exposed to the sun daily for at least 15 minutes between 10am and 12pm or between 3pm and 4pm 30.
Vitamin D favors the absorption of calcium in the intestine, being important for strengthening bones and teeth, in addition to preventing various diseases such as rickets, osteoporosis, cancer, heart problems, diabetes and hypertension. View other vitamin D functions .
Foods rich in vitamin D are especially of animal origin.
List of foods rich in vitamin D
The following table indicates the amount of this vitamin in each 100 g of food:
|Vitamin D for every 100 grams of food|
|Cod liver oil||252 mcg|
|Salmon oil||100 mcg|
|Smoked salmon||20 mcg|
|Fresh herring||23,5 mcg|
|Fortified milk||2,45 mcg|
|Boiled egg||1,3 mcg|
|Meat (chicken, turkey and pork) and offal in general||0,3 mcg|
|Chicken liver||2 mcg|
|Canned sardines in olive oil||40 mcg|
|Bull’s liver||1,1 mcg|
|Cheddar cheese||0,32 mcg|
If sun exposure is not sufficient to obtain daily amounts of vitamin D, it is important that the amount is achieved through food or vitamin supplements. In children from 1 year of age and in healthy adults, the daily recommendation is 15 mcg of vitamin D, while older people should consume 20 mcg per day.
Here’s how to properly sunbathe to produce vitamin D.
Vitamin D for vegetarians
Vitamin D is only present in animal foods and in some fortified products, it is not possible to find it in plant sources such as fruits, vegetables and grains such as rice, wheat, oats and quinoa.
Therefore, strict vegetarians or vegans who do not consume eggs, milk and dairy products, need to obtain the vitamin through sunbathing or through supplementation indicated by the doctor or nutritionist.
When to take vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D supplements should be used when the levels of this vitamin in the blood are below normal, which can happen when the person has little exposure to the sun or when the person has changes in the fat absorption process, as it can happen in people who underwent bariatric surgery, for example.
The severe deficiency of this vitamin in children is known as rickets and in adults, osteomalacia, and it is necessary to perform an exam that allows to identify the amount of this vitamin in the blood, called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, to determine its deficiency.
Generally, vitamin D supplements are accompanied by another mineral, calcium, since vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium in the body, treating a set of changes in bone metabolism, such as osteoporosis.
These supplements should be used under the guidance of a professional and may be recommended by the doctor or nutritionist in capsules or drops. See more about the vitamin D supplement.