The Best Dietary Sources of Vitamin D

Published on January 29, 2022

In an earlier blog, we highlighted ways in which sunlight can be exploited to raise vitamin D levels. Diet is another important source of vitamin D. Unfortunately, the dietary sources of vitamin D are limited, and food is often fortified with vitamin D to make up for the deficit.

Vitamin D – Dietary Sources

Most dietary sources of vitamin D are non-vegetarian. Fish such as aquaculture salmon, wild mackerel, sardines, herring and tuna are good sources of vitamin D. Cod liver oil is available as capsules to supplement vitamin D levels. Organ meats such as liver and egg yolks also contain vitamin D.

Mushrooms that are grown under ultraviolet light contain vitamin D. Yeast that is used to make bread can be irradiated to produce vitamin D.

Vitamin D – Fortified Foods

Fortified foods are a good option for vegans and vegetarians to obtain their vitamin D from the diet, especially if they don’t spend too much time under the sun. Several countries have mandated the addition of vitamin D to certain foods to reduce the deficiency in the diet.

Foods that are chosen for fortification are those that are widely consumed, affordable and easily available in the community. These may include milk, cheese, yogurt, fruit juices, soy milk, mayonnaise, breakfast cereals, sugar, salt etc. Check the food packaging and opt for foods fortified with vitamin D.

Frying or excess heating of vitamin D-fortified foods may reduce their vitamin D content. Thus, oil, butter or ghee that is fortified should be applied to cooked food rather than used for frying.


G R, Gupta A. Fortification of foods with vitamin D in India. Nutrients. 2014;6(9):3601-3623. doi:10.3390/nu6093601

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