Vitamin D - Focus Foods for the week of October 19

Vitamin D - Focus Foods for the week of October 19

Marsha Hebert

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient found in some foods that is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine” vitamin because it is manufactured in the human skin when in contact with the ultraviolet light in the sun’s rays.


Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium metabolism and normal calcification of the bones in the body, as well as influencing the body’s use of the mineral phosphorus, and therefore, the formation of healthy bones, teeth, and cartilage.

Vitamin D occurs in two forms:

  • Vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol derived from plants, does not appear to have all the same functions and amounts as D3.
  • Vitamin D3 or calcitriol derived from animals and may be the most desirable supplementation forms.

Vitamin D is also helpful in maintaining the nervous system, heat function, and normal blood clotting.


The new DRIs for vitamin D are based on maintaining skeletal health and have been set using the assumption that sun exposure is minimal.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) report states that there are no additional health benefits associated with vitamin D intakes above the level of the new RDA. Total vitamin D intake should remain below the level of the new Upper Levels (UL) to avoid possible adverse effects.

Many other countries around the world and some professional societies have somewhat different guidelines for vitamin D intakes. Check with your country’s DRI levels.


Vitamin D from Foods:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide some amounts.
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.
  • Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, almond milk, oat milk, and soy beverages; check the labels.

Vitamin D from Sun Exposure:

The body makes vitamin D when skin is directly exposed to the sun, and most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs this way.

However, it is best to limit exposure of skin to sunlight to lower the risk of possible skin cancer. When out in the sun for more than a few minutes, wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen with adequate SPF (sun protection factor).

Vitamin D from Supplements

If food sources and/or sun exposure is limited, some individuals may need vitamin D supplements. Always check with your health care provider before taking vitamin D supplement.

Recipes this week: Three recipe ideas to incorporate in your Eat For Life meals.


For further reading:

Government of Canada - Health Canada, The U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Institute of Health, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Academy of Science, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Nutrition for Life


disclaimer: This article provides information that should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers about what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this article of a specific product or service, or recommendation from an organization or professional society, does not represent an endorsement by Eat For Life By Marsha of that product, service, or expert advice.