Milk-free Sources of Vitamin D

If you have a milk allergy, you are probably looking for milk-free sources of vitamin D. This is not an easy task. There are few natural food sources of vitamin D. However, there are several fortified sources of vitamin D, but some of these contain milk, so this won’t help the milk allergic individual.

You can get vitamin D from the sun, too, but you’ll want to be safe and heed these guidelines for safe sun exposure. Vitamin D can also be obtained from supplements.

Vitamin D is important to the growth and maintenance of bone. During childhood, calcium and vitamin D are deposited in bone, making them strong and dense. This process is ongoing up to early adulthood, when bones are fully developed to their maximum density. During adulthood, this bone density is either maintained with adequate calcium and vitamin D availability, or bone density may be compromised if the body receives inadequate amounts of calcium or vitamin D.

If you have a milk allergy, you will want to target your food sources of vitamin D to help ensure you are getting enough, just as you would with calcium. The daily goal is 600 IU of vitamin D for children and adults up to age 70, and 800 IU per day after age 70. Food, sun and vitamin D supplements are the three options for ensuring adequate vitamin D intake.

To help you maximize your food sources of vitamin D while keeping an eye on your milk allergy, here are 11 milk-free sources of vitamin D:

Cod Liver Oil: Remember when granny used to take her spoonful of cod liver oil everyday? Cod liver oil is rich in vitamin D with 1,360 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per tablespoon. While it may be difficult to swallow, you can always add it to this milk-free berry smoothie!

Swordfish: Three ounces of swordfish will give you 566 IU of vitamin D, nearly meeting the daily goal for people under age 70. If you are pregnant or a breastfeeding mom, the Environmental Protection Agency advises avoidance of swordfish due to its high mercury content.

Salmon: Three ounces of salmon will give you 466 IU of vitamin D. The recommendations for adult fish consumption are 8 ounces per week (slightly less for kids), according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This is one healthy habit to work on if eating fish weekly isn’t part of your weekly plan. Salmon is considered a low mercury fish.

Canned Tuna (in water): One can of tuna fish (approximately 3 ounces) offers up 154 IU of vitamin D. Pregnant or breastfeeding moms should limit the consumption of tuna fish to 6 ounces per week (about 2 cans) due to its high mercury content. However, canned light tuna is considered a low mercury fish, so if you purchase this type, you can consume more during the week.

Orange Juice: Only the vitamin D-fortified versions qualify as a good source of vitamin D, and will typically offer about 137 IU of vitamin D per cup.

Sardines (canned, in oil): Caesar Salad anyone? Two canned sardines will provide 46 IU of vitamin D, so lay them on top of your salad for a vitamin D kick.

Beef Liver: In general, liver is a source of many nutrients, and vitamin D is one of them. Three ounces of beef liver will contain 42 IU of vitamin D. Certainly not a popular food source, but if you find yourself eating pate you can count on getting some vitamin D.

Eggs: Vitamin D is in the yolk of an egg and you will naturally find about 40 IU of vitamin D in a large egg. Some eggs are further fortified with vitamin D and can contain up to 120 IU of vitamin D.

Cereal: Ready-to-eat cereals that are fortified with vitamin D contain about 40 IU of vitamin D per ¾ to 1 cup serving size.  Read your Nutrition Facts Panel and look for the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin D, as it will vary among cereal products. A DV of 5% is considered a low source, and a DV of 20% is considered a high source of vitamin D. Also,check the ingredient list for milk, as some cereals, especially those with a yogurt flavoring, may contain milk.

Portabello Mushroom: One cup of these diced mushrooms will provide 384 IU of vitamin D. Other, more exotic varieties of mushrooms have an impressive vitamin D content, and even the regular button mushroom variety will get you closer to your vitamin D needs. With so many different ways to prepare mushrooms, including this delicious recipe, you can incorporate them into your regular meal planning.

Soymilk: Soymilk is fortified with vitamin D and typically reflects the same content of cow’s milk at about 100 IU per cup. Some individuals with milk allergy are also allergic to soy, so this isn’t always an option for all milk allergic folk. Make sure you know where soy is lurking!

So, tell me, how many of these vitamin D foods are you eating?



2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

EPA: Fish Consumption Advice

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26