Can I get enough vitamin D from milk and food?

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, is unique because it's found naturally in only a few foods. Fatty fish, the main food source of vitamin D, isn't something most Americans eat daily. Milk doesn't naturally contain vitamin D, but it's been fortified to combat rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency that leads to soft, weak bones. However, for older adults to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D, they would have to drink at least a quart of milk per day. Dairy products made from milk (such as cheese and ice cream) aren't typically fortified with vitamin D and contain only small amounts. But some brands of yogurt are fortified with vitamin D, and so are some juices and breakfast cereals.  Sunshine is another powerful source of vitamin D, which is synthesized in your body naturally when your skin is exposed to sun.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.