Foods are fortified with many different vitamins and vitamin D is no exception. Fortification of Vitamin D is important because there are relatively few natural food sources of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient to bone health, immunity and is most recently being studied for its role in cancer prevention. The current daily value for vitamin D is 400 IU per day. There are many health professionals who feel that 1,000 IU or more is needed, and the new dietary guidelines set to come out this spring should reflect that.
Natural food sources of vitamin D:
- Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines (cod liver oil too). Fatty fish is actually the best natural source of vitamin D and the all important omega-3 fatty acids.
- Egg yolks
- Mushrooms do have some vitamin D but only about 4% of the daily value. However if they are exposed to UV light during growth, the vitamin D level increases to 100% or more of the daily value. There are several companies capitalizing on this concept and offering mushrooms with 100% of the daily value for vitamin D in a 3 ounce serving of mushroom.
- Monterey mushroom: www.montereymushrooms.com
- Dole mushrooms: www.dolemushrooms.com
- I have found some of the enhanced D mushrooms from Dole at local Kroger stores, but they have since been discontinued. Look for Monterey D enhanced soon.
Fortified Sources: Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D
- Dairy products: Often vitamin D is added to dairy products or products that have been fortified with calcium because vitamin D and calcium work in conjunction to improve bone health.
- Yogurt (check the labels not all yogurt is fortified with vitamin D)
- Cheese (check the labels not all cheese if fortified with vitamin D)
- Cereals are another common place for fortification of vitamin D. Examples include:
- Quaker oatmeal
- Raisin Bran
- Minute Maid Orange Juice with Calcium and Vitamin D
- Sara Lee Soft and Smooth whole grain white bread
- Smart balance sour cream
This is just a sampling of foods that have added vitamin D. The FDA does not require vitamin D be put on the label unless foods are fortified with vitamin D, so check the labels of your favorite brands to help you identify which foods have added vitamin D.