Sources of Vitamin D

The main food sources of Vitamin D will be revealed here.

There are several forms of Vitamin D – vitamin D3 (the main form) will be discussed here, and will be referred to as vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced in the liver and kidneys following the skin’s absorption of sunlight.


Its major function is to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphate from the intestine, thus enhancing bone formation. It also reduces excessive cell division and can regulate the immune system. Small amounts of vitamin D are present in eggs, butter, and fatty fish.


It has long been thought that people who receive adequate sunlight are not at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. However, it has recently been found that a significant proportion of the population may be deficient in Vitamin D. Particular at-risk groups include infants living in cold environments with minimal exposure of the skin to sunlight, institutionalised people (e.g.

in nursing homes), or those required to cover up with clothing for religious or race-related reasons, hence they may need supplementation.

A deficiency of vitamin D may also occur when there is a problem of the liver or kidney, so vitamin D cannot be made. Deficiency can result in rickets in children, and osteomalacia, or bone thinning in adults.

Food Source Vitamin D (ug/100g) Notes RDI
Cod Liver Oil 210 Maximum of 40% loss in cooking. Stable to heat, aging and storage. Infants and young children: 400 I.U (International Units). No normal recommended intake is given for adults as they seem to gain adequate from normal exposure to sunlight.
Fatty Fish 5 – 25    
Margarine 8    
Egg yolk 5    
Butter 1    
Cheese 0.2    
Milk 0.01    

Source: Walqvist, Food and Nutrition.



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