Last Updated 25/05/2023

Searching for Nigerian foods rich in Vitamin D?

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In this article, you'll discover most of the Nigerian foods high in vitamin D and their Vitamin D count.

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Nigerian Vitamin D-Rich Foods List

Here are 10 foods rich in Vitamin D you can find in Nigeria:  

1. Egg yolks

As you might already know, egg yolk is the most nutritious part of the egg.

And one of the nutrients found in the yolk is vitamin D(1).

The yolk of one large egg delivers about 37 IU of vitamin D, which is about  5% of the daily recommended Vitamin D intake.

keep in mind that factors such as chicken exposure to sunlight and the vitamin D content of the chicken feed affect the quantity of vitamin D.

In essence, commercial hens produce egg yolks with an average of 37 IU of vitamin D in them. But eggs from free-range or chicken that are given D-enriched feed will contain much more Vitamin D (23).

2. Sardine

Canned sardines are a convenient and good source of vitamin D.

A 100-gram serving of Sardine delivers 193 IU of vitamin D, which translate to about 24% of the daily recommended Vitamin D intake (4).

3. mackerel

Mackerel is another fatty fish that delivers Vitamin D.

A 100g of Mackerel fish provides 643 IU of Vitamin D (5).

4. Canned tuna

Canned tuna is another delicious and convenient Vitamin D source.

A 100g of canned tuna provides as much as 269 IU of vitamin D, which is around 34% of the daily recommended Vitamin D intake (6).

6. Tilapia fish

Tilapia fish also contains some Vitamin D. A 100g of cooked tilapia contains about 3.7mcg.

6. Catfish

Catfish is another fish that is rich and taste and Vitamin D. 

100g of raw Catfish delivers 12.5mcg of vitamin D.

7. liver

Livers are generally rich in nutrients including Vitamin D.

For example, 100g of raw turkey liver supplies about 1.3mcg of Vitamin D, while 

100g of raw Cow liver provides 1.2mcg of Vitamin D.

8.  Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the only non-animal significant source of vitamin D.

Some mushrooms are high in vitamin D because of their exposure to sunlight. The morel is a type of wild mushroom and offers 136 IU (17% of the daily recommended value) in only one cup. (7).

You see, just like humans, mushrooms can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight or UV light (8).

Note that while animals produce vatamin D3, mushrooms produce vitamin D2 (9). And only wild mushrooms or those that have been treated with UV light are good vitamin D sources.

9. Vitamin D fortified foods

Due to the limited availability of natural dietary vitamin D sources, some foods are fortified with Vitamin D.

Here are some common foods that don’t naturally contain vitamin D that have a little bit of it added to them are:

Cow’s milk

Cow milk is one of the popular foods fortified with vitamin D. For example, a cup (237 mL) of fortified cow’s milk contains 115 IU of vitamin D, which is about 15% of the daily recommended Vitamin D intake (10).

Soy milk

 Soy milk is another milk product with a vitamin D fortified version. For example, depending on the brand, a cup (237 mL) of fortified soy milk can contain 100 to 119 IU of vitamin D. That's 13–15% of the daily recommended Vitamin D intake.

Orange juice

Some brands also fortify their orange juice with vitamin D. A cup (237 mL) of a typical fortified orange juice contains up to 100 IU of vitamin D, which is around 12% of the daily recommended intake.


Cereals are another popular set of foods that are fortified with vitamin D. For example, a cup of fortified crisp rice cereal contains 85 IU of vitamin D and  a cup of fortified wheat bran flakes has 145 IU of vitamin D. Which are 11%  and 18% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D respectively. 

10.  Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is a food, however, it's a  popular supplement rich in Vitamin D.

For example, a teaspoon (4.9 mL) of a particular brand of Cod liver oil contains about 450 IU, which is a hefty 56% of the daily recommended value.

In addition, Cod liver oil is also a great source of other nutrients like vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.

11.  Sunlight 

Vitamin D3 is produced when the 7-dehydrocholesterol in human skin is broken down by the sun’s UVB light.

The quantity of vitamin D3 absorbed from the sun’s UVB light varies. The following are conditions that decrease exposure to UVB light and can result in lower vitamin D absorption:

  • Spending little to no time outdoors
  • Application of sunscreen; It can reduce vitamin D absorption by more than 90% when applied correctly [11].
  • Wearing full clothing that covers the entire skin.
  • Ageing; your body has less 7-dehydrocholesterol and your skin starts to change as you age.
  • Darker skin tones; Due to having higher concentrations of melanin, a pigment that acts as a natural sunscreen for the body [12].

Note that sitting in a sunny office or driving in a car will not provide the necessary amount of Vitamin D you need. Glass windows block out all UVB sun rays and it is done intentionally to protect the interior surfaces from degradation

Also, excessive exposure to sunlight is not advisable for numerous reasons.

nigerian foods rich in vitamin d

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is both a nutrient we consume and a hormone our bodies produce.

The majority of Vitamin D is produced in the presence of the sun's ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. This is likely why it's often referred to as 'the sunshine vitamin.'

Also, few foods do contain vitamin D, although many do not. That's why some foods are fortified with vitamin D.

Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is crucial for a number of reasons.

Firstly, It has long been known that vitamin D aids the body to absorb & retain calcium and phosphorous, which are both crucial for building bone.

Secondly, research studies have linked a higher risk of autoimmune diseases to low Vitamin D levels(13).

Also, there have been several studies in laboratories which show that vitamin D can help fight cancer, reduce infections and reduce inflammation.

Scientists also believe that there may be other important functions of vitamin D as new evidence suggests that many body organs and tissues have receptors for vitamin D.

So, we're witnessing a steady increase in interest in vitamin D and its importance to our overall well-being.

Recommended daily intake of Vitamin D

The daily recommended dietary Vitamin D intake  is 600 IU (15 mcg) for adults 19 years and older and 800 IU (20 mcg) for seniors above 70 years (1415).

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency arises either from a lack of dietary intake, poor absorption, and/or the need to consume more.

 Other people at high risk of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • People who have problems with digesting fat, such as those with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, may not be absorbing vitamin D correctly. The body needs fat to absorb vitamin D, and people with impaired fat digestion are at risk of lacking this important nutrient.
  • People who are obese typically have lower levels of Vitamin D, which accumulates in fatty tissues and is not easily available to the body when needed. A higher dose of Vitamin D may be necessary to get enough Vitamin D without relying on dietary sources that may still contain some fat. On the other hand, there is some evidence that when obese people lose weight their vitamin D levels rise.
  • People who have had gastric bypass surgery, which typically removes the upper part of the small intestine where vitamin D is absorbed, may not get enough.

Conditions caused by prolonged vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Rickets: A condition in infants where their bones are weak and soft, and skeletal deformities happen due to a failure of the bone tissue to harden.
  • Osteomalacia: This is when your bones become thinner, weaker, and softer so they can't support you as well. It's different from osteoporosis though where the bones become porous and brittle. The condition can be reversed with supplementation while the one in osteoporosis can't be

Conclusion; Nigerian Foods Rich in Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient, especially for bone health.  

Getting adequate levels of vitamin D in your diet can be difficult, but thankfully there are a few high-quality sources available. Eating the foods in this post is a great way to meet your vitamin D needs!

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  1. Thanks for the content , it is very informative . You are appreciated .

    As for

    6. Catfish
    Catfish is another fish that is rich and taste and Vitamin D.

    100g of raw Catfish delivers 12.5mg of vitamin D.

    Did you mean mcg OR mg ?

      1. Okay, the correction is noted .. Thank you once again for the useful information . Similar health contents and information is always appreciated.

        Can you kindly share , if you know any source to get unsweetened (sugar free) skimmed (powdered) milk or yoghurt in any part of Nigeria .

        Such useful details will be very helpful my whatsapp is +2348024229848


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