Vitamin D is necessary for the proper functioning of the human body, in addition to its absorption in food, adequate exposure to sunlight is required, so that it acquires its active form.

Vitamin D prevents rickets in children and adolescents, as well as osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults. It is necessary for cellular and muscular mobility. The foods with the highest concentration of vitamin D that you should consume will be described in this article.

The importance of vitamin D

Why is vitamin D important, and why should we eat foods rich in this vitamin every day?

Vitamin D is necessary to maintain the human body, its deficiency can be fatal. This vitamin regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the gastrointestinal tract and the renal excretion of these. Consequently, it is necessary for the proper formation and maintenance of the human skeleton or bones.

In addition, calcium is essential for muscle contraction, and phosphate for cellular energy. Both are essential for cell growth, the functioning of the immune system, and the neuromuscular system, and preventing or reducing inflammation.

Recommended daily intake of vitamin D

What are the recommended daily intake requirements for Vitamin D in humans?

The recommended daily intake is 600 to 2000 IU (IU is the abbreviation for international units) of vitamin D, with the minimum recommended amount of 600 IU for healthy people with low risk of deficiency. In cases of deficiency this amount should be increased to 2000 IU for 6 to 8 weeks.

Table of food with vitamin D

Table of foods with vitamin D with the highest concentration per serving.

Foods with Vitamin D in greater quantityAmount of vitamin DPortion size
Herring fish in ceviche or preserved680 IUIn every 100 grams
Canned Whole Salmon Fish624 UIIn every 100 grams
Fish Mackerel360 UIIn every 100 grams
Fish canned sardines272 UIIn every 100 grams
Fortified or fortified milk100 IUIn every 240 ml
Fortified or enriched Orange Juice100 IUIn every 240 ml
Shiitake mushrooms76 UIIn every 100 grams
Fish Cod44 UIIn every 100 grams
Swiss cheese44 UIIn every 100 grams

The data reported in the table of foods with vitamin D, were taken from the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America.

How long do I have to get direct sunlight to make vitamin D?

Exposing the whole body to sunlight between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, long enough for very mild skin redness to occur, can generate more vitamin D in a single day than the amount absorbed from food in more than a week. being the equivalent of 10,000 to 25,000 IU. This enormous variation is determined by the pigmentation of the skin (less pigment more generation), age, and the use of sunscreen.

Foods that contain vitamin D

  • Unprocessed fish are the best food source of vitamin D. A 100 g portion of roasted or baked wild salmon provides an average of 988 IU of Vitamin D: However, if the salmon is fried, it loses up to 60% of its vitamin content. The salmon grown in tanks, only contributes 25% of this quantity, and in roasted or baked form.
  • Sardines, Herring, and Mackerel can contribute the minimum daily requirement,
  • Milk, three to four cups a day should be consumed, if it is fortified better. If you are lactose intolerant , you can look for fortified soy or almond milks.
  • Seafood such as prawns, prawns and shrimp, can provide up to 320 IU for every 100 mg consumed.
  • Semi-mature cheeses and yogurts can contribute up to 25% of the daily requirements.
  • Beef or beef liver, this food can provide up to 50% of the daily requirements, coupled with the fact that it is accompanied by other vitamins and essential elements.
  • Egg yolk also has a concentration equivalent to 15% of the minimum daily requirement.

What are the causes of vitamin D deficiency

The vitamin D deficiency may be caused by the presence of one or more of the following factors.

  • Inadequate or insufficient exposure to sunlight.
  • Intestinal malabsorption problems.
  • Increased excretion or increased catabolism, as a side effect of certain medications.

To maintain the adequate level of vitamin D, it is more important to have adequate exposure to natural sunlight every day, than to rely only on the intake of foods with high concentrations of it. Because the skin cells can generate a large amount of this vitamin in a few minutes.


  1. Vitamin D Deficiency and Related Disorders: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology. (2018). Accessed October 05, 2018, via
  2. The 20 Foods Rich in Vitamin D. (2018 Accessed on October 05, 2018, through
  3. Amores, C. (2018). 15 Foods with vitamin D: what are they? – Home Nutritionist. Accessed on October 05, 2018, through
  4. Symptoms and Causes. These are the Foods Rich in Vitamin D. (2018). Accessed on October 05, 2018, through
  5. Renal regulation of potassium, calcium, phosphate and magnesium (2018). Accessed October 05, 2018, through -Renal-mechanisms-for-the-control-of-blood-volume-and-of-the-volume-of-extracellular-fluid

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *