Sunshine vitamin (D)

Vitamin D (calciferol)

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because modest exposure to sunlight is usually sufficient for most people to produce their own vitamin D using ultraviolet light and cholesterol in the skin. 

The functions of vitamin D are in the maintenance of calcium and phosphorus homeostasis.

Brief and casual exposure of the face, arms and hands to sunlight is thought to equal about 5 mcg (200 IU) of vitamin D. Sun exposure as 5 to 10 minutes of the arms and legs, 2 or 3 times per week – this type of casual exposure seems to provide sufficient vitamin D to last through the winter months except in those unable to go outside.

Dietary reference intakes of vitamin D

Infants and young children 5mcg/day

Adolescents 5 mcg/day

Adults 5-15 mcg/day

Pregnant 5 mcg/day

Lactating 5 mcg/day 

1mcg D3 = 40 IU

Vitamin D content of selected foods

Herring, fresh, raw, 1 oz (6.6 mcg)

Salmon, cooked, 1 oz (3.5 mcg)

Milk, cow’s, fortified, 1 cup (2.5 mcg)

Sardines, canned, 1 oz (2.1 mcg)

Liver, chicken, cooked, 3 oz (1.1 mcg)

Egg yolk (0.6 mcg)

Milk, human, 1 cup (0-0.6 mcg) 

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency




Signs of Vitamin D toxicity

Excessive calcification of bone

Kidney stones



Nausea and vomiting


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