10 Foods High in Vitamin D

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on October 5, 2015

cooked salmon

Although we can find many foods in the supermarket that have been fortified with a synthetic form of vitamin D, there are only a select number of foods that naturally contain vitamin D.

Normally, our body takes in vitamin D in the form of sun-synthesis through the skin. But in our modern times, where many of us spend countless hours indoors, our actual exposure to the sun is limited. This fact may be a principle cause of many ailments, including depression [1].

Personal Disclaimer: I follow an organic vegan diet and I personally use Vitamin D3 or consume Shiitake mushrooms. I also make sure I get some sunlight everyday. However, because I have received so many requests from meat eaters on sources of vitamin D in foods I decided to post the following food sources. I must say though that I do recommend a meatless diet for optimum health.

The Top Foods Containing Vitamin D

1. Shiitake and Button Mushrooms

Surprisingly, the dried versions of shiitake mushrooms are high in vitamin D. This may be due to the fact that these mushrooms are great at sucking up sunlight. Shiitake mushrooms are also rich in B vitamins like B1 and B2. Make sure that you find mushrooms that have been dried in the sun, not by artificial means, in order to achieve the benefits of high vitamin D content.

2. Mackerel

A small, 3½ ounce portion of these high omega-3 containing fish will give you 90% of your recommended daily amount. Currently, the FDA recommends that people eat more of these oily fishes to infuse their bodies with the vitamins and omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s) that the human body cannot produce on its own.

3. Sockeye Salmon

A small 3½ ounce portion of cooked salmon will give you 90% of the recommended dietary intake of Vitamin D. Make sure to purchase salmon that has been caught from the wild, if not, then sustainably farmed.

4. Herring

Herring are high in vitamin D because they thrive on plankton, which is full of vitamin D.

5. Sardines

Sardines are one of the best foods sources of vitamin D. One small tin can of sardines will provide you with approximately 70% of your daily needs. These tiny canned fish are also a great source for vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and selenium.

6. Catfish

Catfish: Again, another fish that makes a habit of feeding on plankton, catfish are constantly taking in minuscule sea life that create vitamin D from sunlight.

7. Tuna

Tuna-Foods High in Vitamin D

Eat 3 ounces of tuna daily for 50% of your vitamin D needs. Fresh, wild-caught tuna is the most nutritious. Remember, eating oily fish can also lubricate the body with “good fats” that provide health benefits like better memory and brain function.

8. Cod Liver Oil

If you can stomach the strong aroma, this oil is super-rich in vitamin D. This golden oil, is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating this oil into your diet will help promote healthy and strong bones. Because of its high Vitamin D content, cod liver oil has also been shown to fight osteoporosis in adults, improve brain function, and optimize nervous system function.

9. Eggs

Eggs are another food that contains vitamin D in small amounts. Eating one egg daily will provide you with approximately 10% of your daily needs. I personally recommend eating free-range eggs from a local farm, if possible.

10. Sunshine

Okay, we know it’s not a food, but daily exposure to sunshine can seriously increase your vitamin D intake. In fact, this vitamin has actually been referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Light hitting the skin from the sun’s rays stimulates the production of this vitamin and hormone. This is great news for those of us that can take a sun-bath daily. But, for those of us in colder, cloudier climates, we can up our intake from the foods we eat. This could explain why Native Inuit people in Alaska ate so much fish!

7 Health Benefits of Vitamin D

There are many reasons to stock up on foods containing vitamin D, health benefits of the vitamin include:

  1. The prevention of chronic diseases.
  2. The protection and lubrication of your bones, teeth and hair.
  3. The regulation of cellular growth and healthy cell activity.
  4. Overall reduction of systemic redness and swelling.
  5. Skeletal health.
  6. Postmenopausal women and African-American men may benefit the most.

As I mentioned above, if you are a vegetarian or don’t eat fish, you can still get the same benefits by taking a vitamin D supplement or make sure to get plenty of sun on a daily basis.


  1. Vitamin D Council. Vitamin D and Depression: A patient friendly summary. 2012.

  • Alexis Elizabeth Drob

    Eeeeew soy anything is sickening!!!

  • Alexis Elizabeth Drob

    And jack is a moron who thinks he knows everything when in reality he is a worm!!!

  • Alexis Elizabeth Drob

    OMG I hate mushrooms, those slimey things!!

  • jan

    I really think it is lack of sun shine. Sun block watching tv etc.. No sun because of cemtrails. I am quite dark skinned and will need more sunlight

  • jan

    I forgot epsom salt’s baths ( good salts)

  • jan

    picky, not nice!!!

  • jan

    do you have any sugestions?

  • ron

    what sunshine? the sky is never clear these days!! on a good day there is still a haze

  • Ann

    Menopause took all my D vitamin. At once.

  • mscognizance

    Vitamin B12 cures pernicious anemia. Vitamin C cures scurvy.

  • mscognizance

    As we get older, our skin is less able to make vitamin D from sunshine; I don’t know if you are old. Also hypothyroidism is associated with low vitamin D. It is important for women to have their thyroid levels checked, not just the TSH but T3 and T4.

  • Rita

    I found this item very helpful thanku

  • Ange

    My husband is type II diabetic…so I guess if he takes 5000 Vitamin D3 he will be curred? He also in going into the state of high blood pressure. His doctor put him on Metforim, Simivastan and Licinopril.

  • settler

    Why do you refer to the “Native Inuit people in Alaska” in the past tense, as if they were extinct or had stopped eating fish?

  • Michele Inman

    I am vegetarian for over 30 years and mostly vegan now….am very fit and great health but do have a vit D deficiency so all this info helps! Thanks so much!

  • Basit

    what heppen apny kaam sy kaaam kar chal dafa hoo0oo0o

  • Mia C

    Can you look into Human Growth Hormone therapy right away? There are ways to make your body grow. You need a specialist who deals with this.

  • B

    I take 2 Fish pills every morning, with my breakfast. After 5 + years taking this, the pain in my knees (from falls in my youth) has depleted about 95%. Now, I await it to stop the pain in my shoulder, from a horrid fall, down wet stairs at work in my 20’s.

  • Angela

    It’s about chosen style, and appropriation to an audience. Using ‘omnivore’ and ‘carnivore’ would be fine; however, this is a casual article for a casual audience. An editor should realize that more people will easily identify with “veggie-eater” than with ‘omnivore’ (unnecessary to capitalize within sentence).

    Were a simiilar article written for a more cerebral or academically/ scientifically geared publication, then an editor likely would opt for the more scientific terms.

  • uttam

    I am vagetarian which foods contains vitamin D

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Sunlight, or a vitamin D supplement, are probably going to be your best bet!

  • Tee

    I know this is slightly out of context, its in re: to Vitamin D supplementation. I am really curious to read any different views people may have. I read on The People’s Chemist, that Vit D supplementation is totally unnecessary and even harmful, if a true deficiency isn’t present. It stated that the normal range guidelines were decided upon with Rickets in mind, and that some of the healthiest people who are in the sun constantly do not reach the ranges that we are being told is healthy. “Healthy Hawaiian Sunbathers” It then went on to say that large doses of synthetic Vitamin D are used in rat and mouse poisons then the argument of dosage came up, but why put anything that’s an ingredient for any poison in our body on a daily basis? It also went on to say, because its fat soluble like A, D & K it leaves us at great risk for D toxicity and hypercalcemia. That’s one, the next is Folic Acid, we don’t need it period, he believes its a carcinogen. But states we do need folate, he uses brewers yeast, I believe, not sure about that. Going on to say Multivitamins and especially prenatal multivitamins are very harmful. I’m only sharing what I read, so different views can be shared. However, My children take Vitamin D, I have had them on vitamins since they were babies. I do as well, and I take L-methyfolte for other reasons, if its true should we all be taking the methylated form regardless of our status? Lastly, it came down to, no need to supplement anything unless we are deficient or have a specific health issue.

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  • Dennie75

    The haze is chemtrails. Watch the sky-they spray back and forth in lines and it spreads out. It is aluminum, barium, strontium, and other junk. Kristen Meghan worked for the gov and told about chemicals she had to approve with no jobs attached. She was threatened when she asked questions. Chemtrails were mentioned in House bill 2977 before it was revised. Ted Gunderson also spoke out against them. Clear blobs fell 6 times over a 3 week period in Oakville, Washington. People were sick that came in contact with it and some pets died. The blobs contained bacteria and human white blood cells. The samples later disappeared. Prior to the blobs falling people noticed slow moving military aircraft in the skies above their town. Green goo also fell on homes in Snyder, NY.

  • Juli

    I notice, Dr. Group, that you are a vegan, so you use the vitamin D3 serum. I am also trying to be a vegan (I’ve been a vegetarian for 35 years) but the serum comes from the lanolin of sheep. This does not seem to be vegan to me. Is there another plant source, other than shitake mushrooms, that is a good way to get vitamin d? Thank you

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Hey Juli, Yeah, you are correct. I’ve been working on a truly vegan friendly D3 formula to fill this need. It’s called Suntrex D3 and we should have it available later on this month. Stay tuned (or sign up for our newsletter for the announcement of its release, sign up box is at the top right of this page).

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  • lu

    Maybe excepting Christ into your life would help more than anything.

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  • bobby bobby

    How would accepting something that doesnt exist help anything? Don’t be brain washed

  • Pingback: Crazy thumbs! - Epilepsy Forum()

  • khumz

    my mom takes celecoxib 100gm as an ongoing prescription drug. today I bought Sandoz calcium forte 500gm and gave her to tablets as a result of severe joint pains last night (and) counteract for tonight. advise of the dangers/advantages

  • Kristine Chiarappo

    Instead of stressing out about what has this and what has that…just take a supplement and call it a day. They have vegan capsules for all you veggie lovers so don’t worry about that. BUT…be sure you are in fact deficient! Have a blood test to confirm. Too much vitamin D can be just as bad as too little. Good luck everyone!

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