by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. These types of vitamins are stored in the body's liver and fatty tissues.
Vitamin D acts as both a vitamin and a hormone. It is found in some foods, but the main sources are vitamin D-fortified milk and sunlight.
Vitamin D plays a role in the growth and maintenance of strong, healthy bones. It also helps to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
As a supplement, it may help treat osteoporosis and high blood pressure.
Here are the guidelines for vitamin D intake:
Vitamin D Deficiency
Symptoms of severe vitamin D deficiency are rare today, but can lead to:
Mild deficiency is common, especially in places that have less sunlight.
Vitamin D Toxicity
Vitamin D is stored in the body and does not pass out through urine. It can build up and reach toxic levels. Here are safe upper level intakes for vitamin D:
IU: international units
Symptoms of toxicity are:
Sunlight and diet are not likely to cause vitamin D toxicity.
Major Food Sources
Fortified foods have the most vitamin D. Examples of foods that may be fortified with vitamin D are:
There are not many foods that are natural sources of vitamin D. They are:
Vitamin D deficiency is more common in:
Tips to Raise Your Vitamin D Intake
Here are tips to help raise your intake:
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Office of Dietary Supplements—National Institutes of Health
Dietitians of Canada
Calcium and vitamin D for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated February 4, 2020. Accessed February 6, 2020.
Vitamin D. Office of Dietary Supplements website. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional. Updated August 7, 2019. Accessed February 6, 2020.
Vitamin D and skin health. Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed February 6, 2020.
Vitamin D intake and supplementation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated November 26, 2018. Accessed February 6, 2020.
Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Last Updated: 2/2/2021