What are the foods that increase Vitamin-D? Why do we care?
Current estimate reveals 94% of the world population needs more Vit-D. Research has established, every cell of our body has a Vitamin-D receptor. Vitamin-D deficiency is related to >200 diseases as of today and it is still an emerging field.
I just don’t want to ignore this finding which came as Google alert for Vitamin-D today as I write this post: “Early screening and management of severe vitamin D deficiency is beneficial for protecting renal function in a relatively healthy population,” the authors write in study published in the December issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
How do we address this scary deficiency day in and day out to make sure our body is working with optimal Vitamin-D level? One of the recourses to meet and increase the D-nutrient in our body is food that we eat every day. But unfortunately, the current supermarket food isles are not carrying too many of them.
The reason being, Vitamin-D3 is exclusively formed by the mammalian skin exposure to sunlight. So the food you see is mostly from animal sources. Fungi produce Vitamin-D2 from sunlight exposure. Human has intelligently fortified several foods taking advantage of the fat solubility of Vitamin-D, thus you can secure Vit-D2 fortified milk and dairy products. Vitamin D2 was added to orange juice and found to be easily absorbed.
But for vegans and vegetarians, there are few foods available where mushrooms standout. Mushrooms contain Vitamin-D2.
Let’s be aware of the fact Vitamin-D (D2 and D3) that we get from sun exposure and acquire from food is not the form that your doctor measures to determine your nutrient status.
What we eat is not what gives our measure of the Vitamin-D level.
If we stuff ourselves with Vitamin-D3 rich food, it does not lift the level that the laboratory measures. Vitamin-D increase in our body is measured not by Vit-D (skin made from sunlight) but from its 1st metabolite, i.e. 25-hydroxy-Vitamin-D. It could be 25-hydroxy-Vitamin-D3, and 25-hydroxy-Vitamin-D2 depending on what you ate.
Vitamin-D just does not convert by itself to 25-hydroxy Vit-D metabolite then to the 1,25-hydroxy Vit-D. It needs the magnesium, zinc, and vitamin-K.
This blog will cover sources that will help increase the Vitamin-D.
- Vit-D from all sources
- Vitamin-D3 from Animal Sources
- Vitamin-D2 from Plant Sources
- Magnesium – The link between lazy (D2 and D3) and active Vitamin-D (25-hydroxy-Vitamin-D2 and D3)
- Two easy and healthy recipes which help vitamin-D improvement
Vitamin-D Foods-A Comprehensive List
|Source||Vitamin-D Class||IU (600 RDI)||Amount|
|Salmon-Wild caught||D3||988||100 g|
|Beef Liver||D3||12||3 1/2 Ounce|
|Egg Yolks||D3||40||1- egg|
|Cod Liver Oil||D3||450||1-teaspoon|
|Plant and Fortified||D2|
|Mushroom-sunlight treated||D2||2300||100 g|
|Orange juice||142||237 mL-1cup|
|Dry Cereal,||D2||40-50||3/4th of a cup|
|Milk||D2||98||237 mL-1 cup|
|Yogurt||D2||120||6 Oz- brand dependent|
Vitamin-D3 from Animal Sources
Most of the population around the world has great access to fish. Many of the fishes, particularly the fatty ones are a rich source of Vitamin-D. While all the fish categories have not yet been calculated for Vitamin-D content, there are many those are evaluated by USDA they have a Vitamin-D number attached to them.
The small fish like sardine and herring are widely available and cost-effective. They can really address Vitamin-D need for a very large population. I have attached a recipe to cook these kinds of small fishes while preserving D-nutrient.
Beef liver is a slice of organ meat comes with Vitamin-K that helps Calcium metabolism along with Vitamin-D.
Just getting Vitamin-D rich food is not enough for upping your Vitamin-D. Cooking them to preserve the nutrients in it is another aspect. For example, fried salmon loses 50% of the Vit-D3. You can reserve most of the Vitamin-D nutrient by baking them.
Vitamin-D2 From Plant Sources
Fortified D2-foods like breakfast cereal, milk, orange juice, yogurt, cheese have some Vit-D2. They all add up to increase your Vitamin-D2 which is the lazy form of Vit-D.
Vitamin D2 and Vitamin-D3: Where are the differences?
The short answer to the question is both works and improve your D-nutrient level. Ergocalciferol (Vitamin-D2) and Cholecalciferol (Vitamin-D3) belong to the same structural class but have a slightly different structure. Vitamin-D2 is not as effective as Vitamin-D3 that we produce from sunlight interacting with skin but works to a lesser degree (~75%). As a testimonial, Vitamin-D2 has helped upped my own severe Vitamin-D deficiency.
How does the lazy D2/D3 work? What mobilizes them? It is mostly the mineral Magnesium.
Magnesium – The link Between Lazy and Active Vitamin-D
Magnesium helps activate Vitamin-D for hydroxylation in the liver to form 25-hydroxy-Vitamin-D. This is the nutrient that our physicians look at to determine the D-nutrition status.
Vitamin K complements Vitamin-D in controlling the disposition of Calcium bones, teeth thus preventing Calcium accumulation in kidney and blood vessels.
Boron supports the functions of Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin-D and healthy bones.
Per Vitamin D Council, “In order to receive the most health benefit from increased levels of vitamin D, the proper cofactors must be present in the body. Vitamin D has many cofactors, but the ones listed here are the most important, with magnesium topping the list: Magnesium, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Zinc and Boron.”
The following table lists several foods (comprehensive list) for different micronutrients for maximizing the performance of Vitamin-D.
|Food Source of micronutrients for Vitamin-D3 Activation|
|RDI 350 mg||RDI <20 mg||RDI 15 mg||RDI 80 microgram|
|Salmon||Peanut Butter||Honey||Beef Liver|
Pick and choose what you like. There are a lot more available in every section which you can search and find.
Steamed Healthy Raw Fish Preparation (Vitamin-D fortified oil)
Cooking raw fish precisely steaming in very little Vitamin-D fortified oil with magnesium-rich spice like poppy seed paste can be enticing to increase D nutrient in your body. It is a traditional Odisha (a state in India) cooking but has been modified to add gold winner refined sunflower oil (Vitamin-D fortified) from mustard oil. We in India cook small fishes like herring and mackerel with this kind of recipe. They are healthy and taste very good.
- clean small boneless sardine 250 g
- poppy seeds-2 tbsp soaked overnight in water
- brown mustard seeds -1 tbsp-soaked overnight in water
- garlic pod-6
- turmeric powder-2 tsp
- red chili powder- 1 tsp
- cumin seed powder- 1 tsp
- salt- 2 teaspoon
- gold winner refined sunflower oil Vitamin-D fortified (you can replace it with any oil of your choice)- 2 tbsp
- large onion-1
- tomatoes- 2
- water- 200 mL
- cilantro or coriander leaves- 1 tbsp
- Marinate the fish with turmeric powder and salt (1 tablespoon) and keep it for 1 hour outside.
- During that time grind the already soaked mustard and poppy seeds with garlic to a thin paste.
- Cut onions into thin slices.
- Cut the tomatoes to small pieces.
- Mix the paste with the fish.
- Add sliced onions.
- Add cut tomatoes.
- Add cumin powder, red chili powder, rest of the salt and turmeric.
- Give a though mix to all the ingredients.
- Add 2 spoons of oil to a pan and heat it
- Add the fish mixture and spread it smoothly.
- Mix the content with ~200 mL water to the pan and mix it with the fish paste.
- Cover the pan and cook medium heat for 20 minutes checking after every 10 minutes.
- After it is done, sprinkle cut coriander leaves on the curry.
- Serve your healthy fish for with one feast of cooked brown rice for best taste.
- button mushroom – 200-250g
- 1/8 cup fresh coriander leaves
- onion -1 medium
- garlic pods -2-3
- 1/2 spoon tomato paste
- black peppercorns -1tsp
- salt as needed
- olive oil -1 tbsp
- clarified butter -1 tsp
- whole Milk -/2 cup
- cashew nuts whole-4
- coconut shredded- 4 tbsp
- Pick fresh mushrooms. Clean them by wiping off with a paper towel.
- Rinse them in cold water and dry them with a paper towel
- Cut the onion to small pieces and mushrooms lengthwise.
- Then slice the garlic.
- Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium heat, add olive oil.
- To the hot oil add garlic, fry until browned
- Then add onion, sauté till they become translucent. Add tomato paste and stir it well.
- Then add mushroom, peppercorns, sauté well until the water oozes out from the mushrooms.
- Add salt to the fairly dry mushrooms.
- Take ~30 gm out and save it for further garnishing.
- Then pour 2 cups of water, get it to boil and shimmer ~10 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked.
- Let the curry cool for a few minutes then transfer to the blender.
- Blend in batches until smooth.
- Add cashews, almonds, and coconut to the blend and grind them all until smooth
- Then return to the pan over low heat, add clarified butter, milk, cook until heated through.
- Add the slurry from step-13 to the hot milk. Shimmer it 5 minutes. Add water if necessary
- Garnish the soup with reserved mushroom and coriander leaves.
- The tasty creamy mushroom soup is ready to serve, Serve hot.
Lift-up Vitamin-D Level- Prevent and Cure Serious Symptoms
Plan your meal to include Vitamin-D2/D3 from all sources. You might have to change the grocery list. With food, it is hard to overload your body with Vitamin-D. Thinking food as your medicine will help heal low D-level. In terms of your overall health, the benefit you get is huge. It helps you protect your immune system, bone loss, prevent cancer and several other diseases. There is no substitute for better health.
It takes time to prove every scientific theory but diseases would not wait.
If you care and afford wild caught Salmon 2 times a week along with some recommended vegetables, it will take you a long way. Have Vitamin-D rich breakfast and some nuts and fruits for snack.
Make sure you eat magnesium rich food. Magnesium helps activate Vitamin-D to its active form.
None of us want life-threatening diseases in our life. The prevention and cure of many serious symptoms are mostly on our hands and food helps positively.