Overview and Recommendations

  1.  Vitamin D is key to health. Available in few food sources (primarily fish), vitamin D plays an important role in bone health, as well as in immune, nerve and muscle function. In addition, it may play a role in protecting against cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and depression.
  2.  Vegetarian D sources. Vitamin D is available in dairy products (through fortification) and egg yolks.
    Mushrooms exposed to light also can provide good sources of vitamin D.
  3. Vegan D intake. Vegans may be at greater risk for low vitamin D intake, but they can obtain vitamin D from regular exposure to sun and fortified foods.
  4. The sunshine vitamin. Most people get some of their vitamin D intake through sun exposure, but this is dependent upon season, time of day, length of day, cloud cover, smog, skin color, and sunscreen use.


Tips to Meet Your Needs

  1. Reach for fortified products. Many foods may be fortified with vitamin D—the primary source in US diets—including milk and milk alternatives, cereals, orange juice, yogurt, and mushrooms with vitamin D.
  2. Get a bi-weekly dose of sunshine. Aim for 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen to boost vitamin D intake.
  3. Consider vitamin D supplements. If diet intake and sun exposure falls short, vegans may need to supplement with vitamin D to meet recommended levels. Remember to discuss all dietary supplements with your healthcare provider. It’s important to know that many supplements with vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) are of animal origin (lanolin); vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is produced from yeast and is acceptable to vegans.

Vitamin D RDA

Life Stage Group Vitamin D (IU)
0 to 12 months
1 to 8 years
9 to 70 years
>71 years
9 to 70 years
>71 years
14 to 50 years
14 to 50 years


Vegan Vitamin D Food Sources

Food Serving Vitamin D (IU)
Maitake mushrooms ** 1 cup, diced 786
Portabella mushrooms ** 1 cup, sliced 634
Soymilk, original, fortified with vitamin D 1 cup 120*
Almond milk, original, fortified with vitamin D 1 cup 100*
Chanterelle mushrooms, raw** 1 cup 114
Orange juice, fortified with
25% of vitamin D
1 cup 100*
Soy yogurt, fortified with
vitamin D
150 grams 80*
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D ¾–1 cup 40*


Vegetarian Vitamin D Sources

Food Serving Vitamin D (IU)
Milk, low-fat, fortified with vitamin D 1 cup 127
Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the DV for vitamin D 6 ounces 80
Egg 1 whole, medium 41
Cheese, Swiss 1 ounce 6
**Exposing mushrooms to UV light causes measurable increases in the vitamin D2 content; amount of vitamin D2
will vary depending on the type of light and duration of exposure.
Note: Sensible exposure to sun is an important source of vitamin D.
*May vary depending on product.
All nutritional information from USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference or food manufacturer labeling.

Courtesy of Sharon Palmer, RD, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™



Vegetarian Vitamin D Food Sources
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