Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D comes from the sun and is often called the “sunshine” vitamin. If you live in Canada you don’t get enough sun exposure in the winter to produce sufficient Vitamin D and in the summer we protect our skin with sunscreen which disables the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D. Our skin’s ability to make vitamin D also decreases as we age and this is why many Canadians are low on vitamin D.

What does Vitamin D do?

It is a nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium and is essential for bone and teeth health. Vitamin D also helps your muscles, nerves and immune system work properly. We can get enough vitamin D if we eat enough Vitamin D rich foods, even if we protect our skin from the sun by using sunscreen and wearing a hat.

Vitamin D

What are Vitamin D rich foods?

  • Cow’s milk, infant formula, and margarine have added vitamin D as required by the Canadian government
  • Fortified soy and rice beverages
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and eel
  • Eggs are a convenient way to get vitamin D
  • Fortified yogurts and cheese made with vitamin D-fortified milk (check the label)
  • Beef liver contains vitamin D and you will also be getting vitamin A, iron, and protein.
  • Ultraviolet lamps and bulbs are a solution for people at high risk of vitamin D
  • Vitamin D supplements can help you get your proper daily dose

Foods that are a source of vitamin D.

Food Serving Size Vitamin D (IU)
Vegetables and Fruit This food group contains very little of this nutrient
Orange juice, fortified with vitamin D 125 mL (½ cup) 50
Grain Products This food group contains very little of this nutrient.
Milk and Alternatives
Soy beverage, fortified with vitamin D 250 mL (1 cup) 123
Milk (3.3 % homo, 2%, 1%, skim, chocolate milk) 250 mL (1 cup) 103-105
Skim milk powdered 24 g (will make 250 mL of milk) 103
Soy beverage, fortified with vitamin D 250 mL (1 cup) 88
Yogurt (plain, fruit bottom), fortified with vitamin D 175 g (3/4 cup) 58-71
Meat and Alternatives
Egg, yolk, cooked 2 large 57-88
Pork, various cuts, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 6-60
Deli meat (pork, beef, salami, bologna) 75 g (2 ½ oz)/ 3 slices 30-54
Beef live, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 36
Fish and Seafood
Salmon, sockeye/red, canned, cooked or raw 75 g (2 ½ oz) 530-699
Salmon, humpback/pink, canned, cooked or raw 75 g (2 ½ oz) 351-497
Salmon, coho, raw or cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 326-421
Snapper, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 392
Salmon, chinook, raw or cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 319-387
Whitefish, lake, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 369
Mackerel, Pacific, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 342
Salmon, Atlantic, raw or cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 181-246
Salmon, chum/keta, raw or cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 203-221
Mackerel, canned 75 g (2 ½ oz) 219
Herring, Atlantic, pickled 75 g (2 ½ oz) 210
Trout, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 150-210
Herring, Atlantic, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 161
Roe, raw 30 g (1 oz) 145
Sardines, Pacific, canned 75 g (2 ½ oz) 144
Halibut, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 144
Tuna, albacore, raw or cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 82-105
Mackerel, Atlantic, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 78
Tuna, white, canned with water 75 g (2 ½ oz) 60
Fats and Oils
Cod liver oil 5 mL (1 tsp) 427
Margarine 5 mL (1 tsp) 25
Other
Goat’s milk, fortified with Vitamin D 250 mL (1 cup) 100
Rice, oat, almond beverage, fortified with Vitamin D 250 mL (1 cup) 88-90

Source: “Canadian Nutrient File 2010”

www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/fiche-nutri-data/index-eng.php

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