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What Does Your RDI Look Like: Vitamin D

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she was on her way to the beach to get her "daily dose of Vitamin D," she said. While it's true that 10-15 minutes of sunshine (ultraviolet-B), 3 times a week, is all the time your body needs to produce the required amount of Vitamin D, I wouldn't use it as an excuse to go out and bake in the sun. Remember that too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Besides, you can eat enough Vitamin D to get your RDI.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is used by the body in the absorption of calcium. It also helps to maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is found in foods like dairy, oily fish, fortified cereals, egg yolks and mushrooms.

A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to Osteoporosis, so if you are not getting enough through the sun and foods, you may want to supplement.

The RDI for Vitamin D is 5–10 mcg or 200–400 International Units (IU). To find out how much is in the food we eat

Your RDI of Vitamin D looks like this:

Food Amount Amount of Vitamin D in IU
Cod liver oil 2 tbsp 1,360 (whoa!)
Cooked salmon 3.5 oz 360
Canned tunafish 3 oz 200
Milk (skim, lowfat, whole) 1 cup 98
Egg 1 whole 25
Fortified cereal 3/4 cup 40-50
Raw mushrooms 1/2 cup 27

Is there such a thing as getting too much Vitamin D? Yes! Vitamin D toxicity can cause nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. It can also raise blood levels of calcium, causing mental issues such as confusion, and heart rhythm abnormalities. Calcinosis, the deposition of calcium and phosphate in soft tissues like the kidneys can also be caused by vitamin D toxicity. Unless you are spending hours in the sun and eating tons of cod liver oil (ick!), "overdosing" on Vitamin D isn't something you need to worry about.


Join The Conversation
Happy-Jenny Happy-Jenny 9 years
I think I'm going to increase my vitamin d now..thanks
Allytta Allytta 9 years
but those wo spoons of cod liver oil would be an overdose, right?
MuffinGal MuffinGal 9 years
@nikolem2: Good to know. My daily vitamin has D3. I just have to remember to take it daily!!
nikolem2 nikolem2 9 years
You probably should have mentioned the 2 different dietary sources of D-- D2 and D3, which are used very differently by the body. Fortified foods (and most cheap supplements) contain D2, which is poorly utilized and absorbed. D3 however is the optimal dietary form and it usually comes from fish or fish oil and supplements that use these (or other animal) sources.
soupergirl soupergirl 9 years
I believe eating more calcium-rich foods is better than adding milk to your coffee.Almonds and broccoli are great sources. Besides, caffeine gets in the way of calcium absorption. Also, I wouldn't take a calcium supplement near the same time you drink your coffee.
soupergirl soupergirl 9 years
early morning sun is the best. Do not bake yourself. I suggest also 400 IU vitamin D gelcaps to take along with your calcium citrate
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