Natural Sources of Vitamin D

Posted 2/4/2017

Vitamin D deficiency is very common in our population inspite of the presence of abundant sunlight. We need to understand how to gain sufficient Vitamin D from natural sources.

The following are natural sources of Vitamin D :

1. Sunlight

    - Between 10 am and 3 pm (UVB light 290-320 nm which generates Vitamin D in the skin is maximally available at this time)

    - Exposure of face and arms or legs/back without sunscreen

    - Exposure to sunlight for 5 minutes for those with fair skin, and upto 30 minutes for very dark skin

    - At least twice a week

    - Affected by season, time of day, length of day, cloud cover, smog, skin melanin content and sunscreen


-          Sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 or more blocks UV B

-          Complete cloud cover reduces UV energy by 50 %

-          UV B does not penetrate glass, so exposure to sunshine indoors through a window does not produce Vitamin D


2. Vegetarian sources

-          Mushrooms : Portabella and shiitake mushrooms, esp. irradiated

-          Alfalfa

-          Fortified foods


3. Non-vegetarian sources

-          Flesh of fatty fish : mackerel(“Bangda”), sardines(“Tarla”), salmon(“Rawas”), tuna

-          Fish liver oils

-          Egg yolk



  1. Vitamin D and Bone Health: A Practical clinical guideline for patient management. National Osteoporosis Foundation Guides 2013
  2. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation: state of the art for daily practice. Review article. van der Welde RY, Brouwers JRBJ, Geusens PP, Lems WF, van den Bergh JPW. Food and nutrition research.2014.58:21796
  3. NIH factsheet Vitamin D.



Natural Sources of Vitamin D
Natural Sources of Vitamin D