Is it possible to get your daily requirement of vitamin D by nutrition only?  The answer is tricky.  Yes, it is possible, but this might prove to be a difficult challenge because not only are there very few food items that contain vitamin D, but you would probably also need to consume really big portions in order to meet your vitamin D needs.

The recommendations for vitamin D intake for adults start at 600 IU per day , with tolerable upper limits at 4000 IU per day. 1,2  The following table* shows how much you would need of each of the listed foods to reach just the minimum of 600 IU. Some foods contain vitamin D naturally, and some are fortified with vitamin D.

Dietary Source of vitamin D Vitamin D content (approximate per serving) Approximate amount to provide 600 IUs of vitamin D
Sardines, canned 500 IU (3.5 oz, 100 g) 4.2 oz (120 g)
Salmon, cooked 360 IU (3.5 oz, 100 g) 5.8 oz (167 g)
Mackerel, cooked 345 IU (3.5 oz, 100 g) 6 oz (174 g)
Tuna, canned in oil 230 IU (3.5 oz, 100 g) 9 oz (260 g)
Halibut, baked or broiled 144 IU (2.6 oz, 75 g) 11 oz (313 g)
Tuna salad 144 IU (125 mL) 17 oz (521 mL)
Oysters, boiled or steamed 136 IU (6 medium) 26 medium
Milk (nonfat, reduced fat or whole) vitamin D – fortified 100 IU (8 oz, 240 ml) 48 oz (1.4 L)
Margarine, fortified 60 IU (1 tbsp, 15 ml) 10 tbsp (150 ml)
Egg yolk 20 IU 30 eggs
Beef, ground, regular, pan-fried 12 IU (2.6 oz, 75 g) 132 oz (3,750 g)
Chicken breast, roasted (with skin) 8 IU (2.6 oz, 75 g) 198 oz (5,625 g)

*Adapted from the Health Canada “Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods – Booklet“, 2008

What is your favorite food that naturally contains or is enriched with vitamin D?  Let us know on Twitter!

If you can’t meet your daily requirement of vitamin D from these foods, check out our Ddrops family of products!

Natalie Bourré is a Ddrops Guest Blogger. She is a mom of 4 young children, health writer  and social media consultant who is passionate about promoting good health for the entire family. She is keen to share scientific information about about vitamin D in an easy to understand fashion. She also truly listens to people’s input and as such, she welcomes you to connect, discuss and share your questions and feedback with her on our social media accounts.  

_________________________________________

1. Health Canada, Vitamin D and Calcium: Updated Dietary Reference Intakes, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/vitamin/vita-d-eng.php#a6

2. Institute of Medicine, Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D, 2011