Important for bone health as it helps the body to absorb calcium. It is also important for our immune system and deficiency has been associated with a number of diseases including diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common in the general population and may be more of a risk in vegetarians, particularly vegans, as the main dietary sources are fatty fish, eggs and dairy foods.
Most of our vitamin D comes from exposure of the skin to sunlight rather than diet and many people can obtain adequate vitamin D from sensible sun exposure.
Mushrooms which have been exposed to UV light or sunlight also contain vitamin D.
Vegans who don’t spend much time outside may need a supplement or fortified foods (e.g. soy milk or oat milk with added vitamin D – but there are only a few brands available in Australia).
Daily Vitamin D requirements
Tips for meeting your Vitamin D needs
About 15 minutes of sunlight on your skin each day normally produces all the vitamin D you need
Look for cereals, grains, bread, orange juice, and plant-based milks fortified with Vitamin D
If a food contains vitamin D it will likely be listed on the nutrition panel. If one serving contains 10%DV, that is 10% of the average requirement for that day
If you get little or no sun exposure and are not eating sufficient amounts of foods containing vitamin D, take a supplement.
Source: Dr Kate Marsh BSc, MNutrDiet, PhD, Grad Cert Diab Edn & Mgt Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian