What Is Vitamin D & What Foods Can I Find It In?

A bunch of white mushrooms
White mushrooms is a good source of vitamin D

Vitamin D exists in two forms, vitamin D2, and vitamin D3.

It is fat-soluble. It means that the body does not need it every day. We have the potential to store it in the body.

Despite its name, vitamin D is not a vitamin. It is a hormone that is synthesized by sunlight.

The body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed directly to the sun.

Vitamin D is vital for our overall health.

Table of Contents

Vitamin D2 And Vitamin D3

Vitamin D exists in two forms. Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. (source )

There are a few differences between the two D vitamins.

Vitamin D2

Vitamin D2 is obtained from the UV irradiation of the yeast sterol ergosterol and is also found naturally in sun-exposed mushrooms.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is called the more natural form of vitamin D because the body can synthesize vitamin D3 from exposure when UVB light from the sun strikes the skin. (source )

Benefits Of Vitamin D

There are many health benefits that can come from having adequate vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is important for bone health in both children and adults.

It has also the ability of reducing risk for many chronic diseases including autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, and infectious diseases. (source )

Getting enough vitamin D are vital for maintaining health. You can find research-backed benefits of vitamin D in Vitamin D (D2 + D3): 12 Research-Backed Benefits .

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. It is a growing problem. (source )

Current studies suggest that we may need more vitamin D than is presently recommended to prevent chronic disease. (source )

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis and fractures.

Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to other diseases and depression.

In children, it can cause rickets.

How To Get Vitamin D

The major source of vitamin D for children and adults is exposure to natural sunlight. (source )

In foods, vitamin D3 is only found in animal-sourced foods, and vitamin D2 is found in plant sources and fortified foods. (source )

To get sufficient vitamin D from natural food sources alone is difficult. It means that consumption of vitamin D-fortified foods and exposure to some sunlight are essential for maintaining a healthy vitamin D status. (source )

Both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are synthesized commercially and are found in dietary supplements or fortified foods. (source )

Plenty Of Vitamin D Supplements Available

There are a lot of vitamin D supplements available to choose from.

The trick is to know which one to buy.

We've written a whole article about what vitamin D supplements we think are of the highest quality.

You will find it in Recommended Vitamin D Supplements

Foods You Can Find Vitamin D (D2 + D3) In

You find Vitamin D (D2 + D3) mostly in fats and oils, seafood, and vegetable products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated, top ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Vitamin D (D2 + D3) we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top ranked list of foods that contain Vitamin D (D2 + D3).

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.