Getting Your Vitamin D: Foods That Help Boost Your Intake During the Fall

Experiencing sunlight is the only way your body produces vitamin D. In fact, up to 50% of the world's population doesn’t receive enough sunshine, and 40% of Americans are vitamin D deficient1. Several factors contribute to this, such as people spending more time indoors, wearing sunblock out in the sun, and eating a Western diet with few sources of vitamin D.

But, in the fall, the days become shorter, and the sun's rays become less direct, which means your body cannot absorb as much ultraviolet B radiation as it could in summer. That's why scientists recommend vitamin D intake must be increased by 500 percent to maintain normal levels of vitamin D during the fall. 

Vitamin D: Why Is It So Important?
Vitamin D Benefits

Even though calcium is the most important mineral for healthy bones, vitamin D plays a crucial role, too. Regardless of how much calcium you eat; it won't get absorbed into the bones without vitamin D. The normal growth, development, and health of your bones and teeth depend on getting adequate vitamin D. 

In addition, vitamin D can also be used to prevent osteoporosis, which causes your bones to become brittle over time, and a deficiency in this vitamin can cause gradual bone weakness. Vitamin D also improves resistance against certain diseases and facilitates normal immune system function.

What's more, recent studies indicate that vitamin D may be helpful in the prevention of several diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease2.

Foods That Help Boost Your Vitamin D Intake During the Fall

When you are directly exposed to sunlight, your body produces vitamin D. However; it is also possible to acquire the vitamin by consuming certain foods and supplements. If you don't get enough sunlight, you may need closer to 1,000 IU (25 mcg) per day3.

The following foods will help you get enough vitamin D, even in cold, dark months like fall and winter:

1.   Salmon

The vitamin D content of fat-rich fish such as salmon is high. Approximately 66% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin D is contained in one serving of 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of farmed Atlantic salmon. There is a significant difference between wild and farmed salmon. Wild-caught salmon contains 988 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, which is 124% of the Daily Value for vitamin D. Some studies have found that wild salmon contains even higher levels – up to 1,300 IU. Farm-raised salmon, on the other hand, contains just 25% of this amount. Farmed salmon offers about 250 IU of vitamin D in one serving or about 32% of the daily value4,5

2.   Herring and Sardines
Does herring have Vitamin D

The herring is a fish eaten all over the world. You can eat it raw, canned, smoked, or pickled. This small fish is also a good source of vitamin D. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of fresh Atlantic herring provides 216 IU or 27% of the Daily Value6. You can also get vitamin D from pickled herring, which provides 112 IU per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, or 14% of the daily value. In addition, pickled herring contains a significant amount of sodium, which some people consume in excess. The vitamin D in canned sardines is good as well, as one can contain 177 IU or 22% of the DV7.

The same goes for other types of fatty fish and seafood, such as mackerel, oysters, shrimp, sardines, and anchovies. Half a halibut fillet contains 384 IU, and a half of a mackerel fillet has 360 IU8

Furthermore, many of these foods contain omega-3 fatty acids that are highly beneficial to your heart.  

3.   Canned Tuna

The flavor and ease of storing canned tuna entice many people to buy it. Fresh fish is also usually more expensive than canned tuna. One serving of canned light tuna contains 268 IU of vitamin D or 34% of the DV. Moreover, it contains niacin and vitamin K9

However, canned tuna contains methylmercury, a poisonous substance found in many kinds of fish. Excess consumption can cause several health problems.

There are, however, some types of fish that are safer than others. For example, light tuna is increasingly considered a healthier option than white tuna as you can eat up to 170 grams per week10

4.   Mushrooms

Among vegetarian sources of vitamin D, mushrooms are the only ones. 

Mushrooms can also make vitamin D when exposed to the sun11. Mushrooms produce D2 or ergocalciferol, while humans produce D3 or cholecalciferol. Both forms of this vitamin can raise the circulating levels of vitamin D, but studies suggest that D3 may be more effective and efficient than D212.

Depending on its type, the vitamin D content of mushrooms varies, but some varieties - like wild maitake mushrooms - contain as much as 2,348 IU of the vitamin. About 30% of your daily requirement. Since wild mushrooms are exposed to sunlight, they usually have a higher vitamin D concentration than commercially grown mushrooms. UV-treated mushrooms are also available13.

To avoid exposure to poisonous mushrooms, you should carefully identify wild mushrooms or buy them from a trusted supplier - like a grocery store or farmers market.

5.   Egg Yolks
Are eggs good for you

Whole eggs are a good source of vitamin D, even for those who do not consume fish. The whites of eggs contain most of the protein, while the yolks contain fat, vitamins, and minerals. An egg yolk typically contains 37 IU of vitamin D, 5% of the daily value14

According to one study, a chicken's egg yolk vitamin D content varies depending on its feed's amount of vitamin D and sun exposure. For pasture-raised chickens who roam outside in the sunlight when given the same feed, their eggs are more than three to four times higher in vitamin D15. Likewise, eggs from chickens that have been fed vitamin-D-enriched feed may contain up to 6,000 IU of vitamin D. This is seven times the DV16

The choice of outdoor-raised chickens or eggs marketed as vitamin D-rich can be an easy and convenient way to meet your vitamin D requirements in the fall. 

6.   Fortified Foods

Those who are vegetarians or don't eat fish have fewer natural sources of vitamin D. However, food products fortified with vitamin D do exist.

Cow's Milk

Most people consume cow's milk because it's naturally rich in calcium, phosphorous, and riboflavin. Several countries fortify cow's milk with vitamin D. Normally; it contains approximately 15-22% of the Daily Value (DV) per cup (237 ml)17.  

Soy Milk

Vegans are especially susceptible to vitamin D deficiencies because it is almost exclusively found in animal products. Therefore, plant-based milk alternatives such as soy milk are usually fortified with this nutrient as well as other vitamins and minerals found in cow's milk. It typically contains 13–15% of your DV of vitamin D in one cup (237 ml)18.

Orange Juice

Worldwide, 75% of people have lactose intolerance, while another 2–3% are allergic to milk. That’s why some countries fortify orange juice with nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium. With a cup (237 ml) of fortified orange juice for breakfast, you will receive up to 100 IU of vitamin D, or 12% of the daily value19.

Cereal and Oatmeal

There are also fortified cereals and instant oatmeal. These foods can provide as much as 17% of the DV in half a cup (78 grams). The vitamin D found in fortified cereals and oatmeal are less than many natural sources, but they're still a good source20

7.   Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil

Supplements containing cod liver oil are popular. Taking cod liver oil can provide certain nutrients not available in other sources if you don't like fish. Providing 56% of the Daily Value of vitamin D, it contains about 448 IU per teaspoon (4.9 ml). Deficiencies in children have been treated and prevented with this supplement for years21.

The vitamin A content of cod liver oil is also very high, with just one teaspoon (5.9 ml) providing 150% of the DV. However, high dosages of vitamin A can cause toxicity. That’s why, you should be cautious about taking too much cod liver oil. Furthermore, cod liver oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which many people lack.

8.   Beef Liver

Despite not being an attractive source of vitamin D, 3.5 ounces of cooked beef liver contains about 50 IU. In addition, you'll get vitamins A, iron, and protein. Nevertheless, beef liver contains high cholesterol levels, so you may want to opt for an oily fish instead.

9.   Vitamin D Supplement

A vitamin D supplement may be the most effective way for many people to ensure adequate intake. The biological forms of vitamin D are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 is derived from plants, while D3 comes from animals12.  

Research indicates that D3 may raise and maintain overall vitamin D levels more effectively than D2 so that you can take Vibrant Health - Vitamin D3. This vitamin D3 supplement is Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Non-GMO, Certified Organic. What's more, Vibrant Health - Vitamin D3 contains 4000 IU of vitamin D3, providing 500% DV. 


The dosage of vitamin D supplements varies. However, the amount of vitamin D you require depends on your vitamin D status now. Maintaining healthy vitamin D levels generally requires a daily dose of 1000–4000 IU for most people. Depending on your current vitamin D levels and the amount of sunlight you get, a much larger dosage may be necessary. To be sure that you are taking the proper amount of vitamin D, it's ideal to consult a medical professional about your vitamin D levels.  

The Bottom Line

People from around the world are not getting enough vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient. Now that fall is here, vitamin D becomes more important. Vitamin D plays a role in calcium absorption, blood sugar control, depression reduction, and immunity-boosting. In the summer, your body may have a greater supply of vitamin D since the sun is a major source of this nutrient. These levels can, however, be diminished by short and cloudy days. 

Therefore, you can increase your vitamin D levels through extra sun exposure, food rich in vitamin D, and supplements in the fall. You might want to discuss adding a vitamin D supplement with your doctor while taking vitamin D from foods. Taking a tablet of Vibrant Health - Vitamin D3 daily is an easy way to maintain your vitamin D levels and stay healthy.

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