Dec 18, 2014 9:45 PM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium and strengthen your bones. “An average adult age 18 to 70 should get 600 IUs of vitamin D a day,” says Russell Vinik, MD, an internal medicine doctor at University of Utah Health. “You can get that in about 15 minutes of daily sun exposure.” That’s easy during summer, but when you drive to and from work in the dark, it can be a challenge. The good news: The sun isn’t the only source for vitamin D. Here are four other ways you can get it.

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Vitamin D

Fatty fish

Salmon, swordfish, cod and tuna are great sources of vitamin D. A 3-ounce fillet of swordfish has 566 IUs of vitamin D, and the same serving size of salmon has 447 IUs. A 3-ounce can of tuna provides 154 IUs.

Milk and OJ

Start your day off with fortified orange juice. An 8-ounce glass has about 140 IUs of vitamin D. A cup of milk has around 120 IUs.


Breakfast cereal and instant oatmeal are often fortified with vitamin D. Some varieties contain more than half the daily recommended amount. Check nutrition labels for specifics.

Vitamins and supplements

Most multivitamins contain the daily recommended level of vitamin D, and cod liver oil contains 1,360 IUs—more than two times the recommendation. “Always talk with your doctor before taking any new vitamins or supplements,” Vinik adds.

Aim to get 600 IU of vitamin D a day, but don’t sweat it if you miss that mark. “Vitamin D is fat soluble,” Vinik says. “So your body can use stored vitamin D when you need it.”

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