Vitamin D Food Sources

Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients out there; the list of D3 benefits goes on for miles. It’s called the sunshine vitamin, because our bodies synthesize it from sunlight. While many of us supplement with vitamin D3 capsules, others prefer to get their vitamins naturally, from a healthy diet. This can be tricky, because vitamin D is rarely found in plant sources. So vegans, you might be out of luck! And the vitamin D in plants is in the form of D2, rather than D3. Vitamin D3 stays in your body longer. If you want to get D3 naturally, you’re probably going have to eat some animal products.


This isn’t a food, but it is the best natural source out there. Our bodies synthesize vitamin D from the sun, so if you want more of the sunshine vitamin, get out there in the sunshine!


This is the best food source out there. Wild salmon is particularly rich, and can contain as much as 1,400 IU—twice the daily recommended amount. Cod liver oil, tuna, sole, herring, catfish, mollusks, trout, halibut, mackerel, flounder, and sardines are more rich sources.

Be careful with cod liver oil, though—some refined versions of this product actually have the vitamin D removed! Don’t ask me why. I think it’s crazy.

More Vitamin D Food Sources

Other rich sources of vitamin D3 include beef liver, egg yolks, pork, and cheese (especially ricotta and swiss).

Foods That Are Fortified with Vitamin D

These aren’t really natural food sources, since vitamin D has been added to them. But you can get vitamin D from fortified foods, like milk, cereal, and even orange juice.

What About Plants?

Again, plants will have D2 rather than D3, so keep that in mind. But one of the best plant sources of this nutrient is mushrooms (especially shiitake).

Do I Still Need to Supplement?

While all the foods are great sources of vitamin D, you still might not get enough unless you spend some time in the sun each day. And for most of us, who live through winter half the year and spend most of our days inside at work, that just isn’t an option. So I would suggest daily supplementation with vitamin D.


Thanks for reading about vitamin D food sources. If you want to learn more about vitamin D and other crucial nutrients, check out D3 benefits, vitamin D overdose symptoms, and vitamins for energy. Bye!