Vitamin D in foods and as supplements

Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2006 Sep;92(1):33-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2006.02.017. Epub 2006 Feb 28.


Numerous studies have shown that the vitamin D status is far from optimal in many countries all over the world. The main reason for this is lack of sunshine. Only a limited number of foods naturally contain vitamin D. Good sources of vitamin D(3) are fish (not only fatty fish), egg yolk, and offal such as liver. Some foods such as milk are fortified with vitamin D in some countries. Dietary vitamin D intake is low in many countries, especially as the dietary sources are limited. The use of supplements is important and seems to be high in some countries. Current dietary intake recommendations are too low to preserve/reach optimal S-25-OHD concentrations, when UVB radiation is not available. We suggest that the recommendations should be increased to at least 10 microg per day in all age groups when solar UVB is scarce. The elderly may need a daily vitamin D intake of 25 microg. If dietary intake of vitamin D is to be increased, food habits will have to change. From a public health point of view it is better to increase the potential sources of vitamin D by fortifying specific products that are consumed commonly in a whole population, or if necessary by especially vulnerable groups. Supplement use is probably the right alternative for vulnerable groups such as infants and inactive elderly in whom this is more easily implemented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*


  • Vitamin D