Eggs: the richest food in vitamin D?

Eggs are the best everyday food for meeting your daily vitamin D requirements, with just an egg providing 50 IU (1.24 mcg) of vitamin D, or more than 8% of the Daily Value.

Why is it important to eat foods rich in vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. The human body can produce it when the skin gets exposed to sunlight or UV irradiation. Also, we can get vitamin D from diet or dietary supplements.

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption. Hence, it’s vital for normal bone mineralization and growth. It helps prevent osteoporosis.

Moreover, vitamin D is involved in cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, as well as glucose metabolism.[1]

Furthermore, vitamin D stops the growth of new blood vessels and has potent anti-inflammatory effects. According to studies, low vitamin D levels have been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, like colorectal or breast cancer. More studies are needed, though.[2,3,4]

Vitamin D is beneficial for the heart as well. Actually, people with low vitamin D concentrations (<15 ng/mL) seem to have a 60% higher risk of heart disease. Also, they’re 3 times more likely to have high blood pressure than people with high concentrations (>30 ng/mL).

Eat Eggs to boost Vitamin D3 intake.Pin

Obese people are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D! Actually, low vitamin D levels may be a key reason for a higher risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular outcomes in obese people.

Also, vitamin D deficiency may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, depression, cognitive decline, early age-related macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease, and other autoimmune diseases!

How much vitamin D do we need a day?

Most healthy adults require approximately 15 mcg (600 IU) of vitamin D a day. But, these dosages may not be enough, if someone has low serum concentrations of vitamin D. We should have our serum vitamin D concentrations regularly checked.

Normal concentrations are equal, or higher than 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L).

In cases of vitamin D deficiency, daily dosages up to 10,000 IU may be necessary. If you take high doses of vitamin D from supplements, you should consult your physician. Too much vitamin D may lead to adverse effects.[5]

If serum concentrations of 25(OH)D exceed 50 ng/mL, you may need to stop taking vitamin D supplements or consuming foods particularly high in vitamin D like fish oils.

Egg is a good source of vitamin D

Eggs contain moderate amounts of vitamin D. An egg contains 50 IU (1.24 mcg) of vitamin D which is 8% of the Daily Value![6]

Moreover, a 3-egg omelet contains about 150 IU of vitamin D, or 25% of the Daily Value.

In fact, an egg omelet with oats is one of the most nutritious meals you can eat.

Do organic eggs have more vitamin D?

Conventional vs free-range

Research on the vitamin D content of eggs based on organic versus regular farming practices has yielded mixed results. If you’re only mindful of the vitamin D content of eggs, you could eat the conventional ones.

According to studies, vitamin D levels can be higher in the conventional than in free-range eggs or vice versa. Vitamin D3 content of egg yolk can be up to 4 times higher in chickens that were exposed to sunlight compared with caged hens.[7,8]

Practically, even if there is a difference, it’s likely to be relatively small and wouldn’t likely significantly impact your overall vitamin D intake.

After all, the researchers found that free-range eggs randomly acquired from supermarkets had relatively low vitamin D content.

The vitamin D content in eggs can be influenced by various factors besides farming practices, including:

  • Season: Chickens typically produce more vitamin D during the summer months when there is more sunlight.
  • Diet: The hens’ feed can also impact vitamin D content. Some farms supplement the feed with vitamin D, which can increase the vitamin D content in the eggs.
  • Age of the eggs: Vitamin D in eggs can degrade over time, so consuming fresh eggs is advisable.

The darker egg yolks may contain more vitamin D. The yolk color tone is associated with the 25-OH vitamin D levels.

Naturally enhanced

Naturally enhanced eggs can contribute to increased vitamin D intake. There are three ways to naturally enhance the vitamin D content in eggs:[9]

  • feeding more vitamin D to the hens,
  • exposing the hens to UVB and
  • exposing liquid egg products to UVB.

The yolk of naturally enhanced eggs can contain up to 20 mcg of vitamin D per 100 grams! This is 8 times more vitamin D than regular eggs!

Just to be sure, check the nutrition facts label of packed eggs. Naturally enhanced eggs should provide the amount of vitamin D per 100g.

As organic or naturally enhanced eggs can be very expensive as compared to regular ones, they may not be worth the extra cost if your goal is to increase your vitamin D intake from food. You could always eat other cheap fortified foods or take dietary supplements, instead.

Egg white or yolk for boosting vitamin D intake?

Almost all the vitamin D in an egg is concentrated in the yolk. The egg white contains negligible amounts.

Focusing solely on the yolk is best if your primary goal is to maximize vitamin D intake from eggs. However, this would mean missing out on other valuable nutrients present in the whole egg. Eating whole eggs is the best approach for healthy people.

Vitamin D2 or D3 in Eggs?

Eggs contain vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol. This form of vitamin D is naturally synthesized by animals (including chickens) when exposed to sunlight. Plants produce vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).

While both D2 and D3 can be converted into the active form of vitamin D used by the body, studies suggest that vitamin D3 might be more efficient at raising blood levels of vitamin D compared to D2. This is why the presence of D3 in eggs makes them a valuable source of this vital nutrient.

Dietary supplements also provide vitamin D3.

How do Cooking and Storage methods affect vitamin D concentrations in eggs?

While some cooking methods can reduce vitamin D content in eggs, the losses are not always substantial. Boiling, poaching, and steaming are good options to minimize vitamin D loss. Microwaving eggs is also surprisingly effective at preserving vitamin D3.[10]

These methods are generally considered gentler cooking methods that may help preserve vitamin D levels compared to frying or scrambling at high temperatures. They may even slightly increase bioavailability due to fat melting and releasing the vitamin.

Most noteworthy, opt for cooking methods that keep the yolk intact, such as soft or medium-boiled eggs, rather than hard-boiling or frying the eggs for an extended period.

Frying, scrambling, and omelets show a moderate reduction in vitamin D content, ranging from 5-25% loss. This is likely due to heat exposure during cooking.

Overcooking can lead to nutrient loss, including vitamin D. That’s why hard boiling preserves less vitamin D than other cooking methods.

Storage methods like refrigeration for reasonable durations seem to have minimal impact as well.

Can I get too much vitamin D from eggs?

It’s unlikely to get too much vitamin D solely from eggs, even if you eat several per day. While eggs are a good source of vitamin D, they contain much less compared to other sources like fatty fish or fortified foods.

Excessive vitamin D is rare from food sources like eggs alone, but be aware of potential signs if you suspect intake from various sources might be high:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Kidney problems

Does vegan egg replacer contain any vitamin D?

You can find egg replacers on Amazon for a vegan culinary egg substitute. But they contain no vitamin D. They’re fortified with various other minerals and vitamins, though.

Should I eat an egg every day to get vitamin D?

So, should we eat eggs daily in order to boost vitamin D intake?

Certainly, eggs have great nutritional value, and they’re low in calories.

Eggs are particularly high in high-quality protein, choline, omega-3s as well as many minerals, such as iron, calcium, and zinc. Moreover, eggs contain all vitamins except vitamin C. In fact, they’re rich in vitamin A and vitamin B12.

But, we should consume eggs in moderation. They’re pretty high in cholesterol and saturated fatty acids. In fact, just an egg contains 1.6 grams of saturated fatty acids, while the upper safe dose is only 13 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet. High intakes of saturated fats may raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.[11]

If your physician hasn’t recommended you otherwise, you can eat an egg every day. Even 2 whole eggs a day can be part of a well-balanced diet, considering dietary cholesterol from other sources, though!

If you are concerned about the potential impact of eggs on your cholesterol levels, consider focusing on the egg whites, which are naturally cholesterol-free.

Other common foods high in vitamin D

So, although eggs are great dietary sources of vitamin D, we shouldn’t depend on them to meet our daily needs. We shouldn’t depend on sun exposure, either. Sunlight is dangerous.

Fatty fish, such as trout, salmon, and sardines, are among the richest foods in vitamin D. A serving may provide up to 645 IU (16,2 mcg) of vitamin D.

Also, we can get high amounts of vitamin D by supplementing with cod liver oil. Just a tbsp provides 1360 IU (34 mcg) of vitamin D!

Beef liver, fortified yogurt, and cheese contain decent amounts of vitamin D as well.

On the other hand, there aren’t many plant-based foods containing vitamin D. Only certain mushrooms exposed to UV light are good dietary sources, containing up to 46% of the recommended daily intake. Common mushrooms contain negligible amounts of vitamin D, though.

Therefore, it’s rather tricky to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from a diet.

Most people would benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement. You’ll find a variety of vitamin D supplements on iHerb.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. A fatty meal will increase its absorption.

Consult your physician before taking any dietary supplement. You should check your serum vitamin D concentration regularly in order to stay in normal ranges.

How to get high amounts of vitamin D from my diet?

Combine these vitamin D-packed foods throughout the week. Aim for a variety of vitamin D sources instead of relying solely on one.

Consider fortified cereals and orange juice. Better to avoid the overconsumption of milk, yogurt or other dairy products, though, as they’re high in saturated fat, which can be dangerous for the heart in high amounts. The healthiest dairy product is kefir!

Fortified plant-based milk and yogurt can be good alternatives.

The richest common foods in vitamin D are Eggs.Pin

While fatty fish are excellent sources of vitamin D, they might not be practical for everyone to consume daily. Consuming eggs is the most convenient option for meeting your vitamin D goals. Two eggs provide 16% of the recommended daily intake.

Remember that moderate sun exposure remains a natural way to increase vitamin D levels. Consult your doctor for guidance on safe sun exposure practices.

What’s the best time of the day to eat foods rich in vitamin D?

The best time of the day to eat foods rich in vitamin D isn’t as crucial as ensuring you get enough vitamin D overall. Your body absorbs vitamin D throughout the day, regardless of when you eat the food source.

Studies haven’t shown a significant difference in vitamin D absorption based on meal timing. Some research suggests taking vitamin D supplements with a fatty meal may slightly increase absorption, but this might not apply directly to food sources.

Ultimately, the best time of the day to eat vitamin D-rich foods depends on your personal preferences and dietary habits. Choose a time that fits seamlessly into your routine and ensures you reach your daily vitamin D recommendations.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Spread out your vitamin D intake: Don’t rely on one large meal to meet your daily needs. Include smaller amounts of vitamin D-rich foods throughout the day. After all, you can incorporate eggs into every meal or snack of the day.
  • Combine with healthy fats: Pairing vitamin D-rich foods with healthy fats like avocado, nuts, or olive oil can slightly improve absorption.
  • Consider supplementation: Depending on your individual needs and dietary habits, your doctor might recommend vitamin D supplementation alongside food sources.


If you struggle to remember to take supplements or prioritize certain food choices throughout the day, incorporating vitamin D-rich foods earlier in the day might be helpful for consistency.

Recipe Ideas with Eggs to boost your daily intake


  • Eggs with Smoked Salmon & Avocado Toast (~400 IU): Top whole-wheat toast with mashed avocado, smoked salmon, and an egg for protein and vitamin D.
  • Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms & Spinach (~380 IU): Scramble eggs with chopped mushrooms, spinach, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese for a flavorful and nutritious start to your day.
  • Salmon & Sweet Potato Frittata (~450 IU): Combine flaked salmon, diced sweet potato, eggs, and your favorite vegetables in a baking dish for a protein-rich and vitamin D-loaded frittata.

Lunch & Dinner:

  • Tuna Salad Sandwich with Avocado & Sprouts (~250 IU): Make a healthy and satisfying sandwich with tuna salad, mashed avocado, alfalfa sprouts, and whole-wheat bread.
  • Chicken Caesar Salad with Egg & Sardines (~420 IU): Top your salad with grilled chicken, a hard-boiled egg, chopped sardines, and a light Caesar dressing for a balanced and delicious meal.
  • Creamy Mushroom & Eggplant Pasta (~120 IU): Combine sautéed mushrooms, eggplant, eggs, and a creamy sauce over your favorite pasta for a comforting and flavorful dish.
  • Homemade Beef Burgers with Eggs & Mushrooms (~80 IU): Up your burger game by adding a fried egg and sautéed mushrooms for extra protein and vitamin D.

Snacks & Sides:

  • Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon & Dill (~400 IU): Elevate the classic deviled egg by adding smoked salmon and dill for a protein and vitamin D boost.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs with Spicy Guacamole (~110 IU): Pair classic hard-boiled eggs with a creamy guacamole, sprinkled with chili flakes, for a protein and vitamin D boost.
  • Mini Frittatas with Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes (~100 IU): Whisk eggs with chopped spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Bake in muffin tins for healthy and portable bites.
  • Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms & Avocado Toast (~150 IU): Combine scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms and top whole-wheat toast with mashed avocado for a satisfying and nutritious snack.

These are just a few examples, and the actual vitamin D content can vary depending on the specific ingredients and serving sizes. Be sure to check the nutrient information of the specific foods you use in your recipes.

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