Vitamin D in food

The vitamin D derived from supplements is converted into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-DThe vitamin D metabolite widely (and erroneously) considered best indicator of vitamin D "deficiency." Inactivates the Vitamin D Nuclear Receptor. Produced by hydroxylation of vitamin D3 in the liver.), the form of vitamin D which dysregulates the Vitamin D ReceptorA nuclear receptor located throughout the body that plays a key role in the innate immune response. (VDRThe Vitamin D Receptor. A nuclear receptor located throughout the body that plays a key role in the innate immune response.), to prevent the innate immune system from functioning properly. Olmesartan (Benicar)Medication taken regularly by patients on the Marshall Protocol for its ability to activate the Vitamin D Receptor. can only restore the function of the innate immune system when it does not have to compete with 25-D at the VDR binding sites. A 25-D level of under 12 ng/ml provides the opportunity for olmesartanMedication taken regularly by patients on the Marshall Protocol for its ability to activate the Vitamin D Receptor. Also known by the trade name Benicar. to work, and allows the immune system to return to proper function.

Patients on the Marshall ProtocolA curative medical treatment for chronic inflammatory disease. Based on the Marshall Pathogenesis. (MP) are required to avoid all ingested forms of vitamin D. When the innate immune system returns to proper function, symptoms (immunopathy, or IP) may increase, but without this return to function, there cannot be cure.

A number of foods contain vitamin D, either naturally or because it has been added during processing. It is important to read labels. However, sometimes a label will not state that a food is supplemented with vitamin D.

The only objective way for a MP patient to determine if they have been successful at avoiding ingesting an excess of vitamin D is to periodically retest their serum 25-D to determine if the target of less than 12 ng/ml has been reached and maintained.

Vitamin D content of select food sources

A list of selected foods and their respective vitamin D content is shown below. A discussion of the vitamin D in different types of food, including substitutes, is available, as is a discussion of food supplementation policy.

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It is important to note that the exact nature of any given patient's response to vitamin D may vary according to individual health and the amount of vitamin D consumed. Individual discretion is advised.

As a general policy, eating whole foods and minimally processed foods reduces the risk of ingesting hidden or unlisted vitamin D sources. Vigilant reading of ingredient lists and nutritional information, if provided on the label, has been found to be crucial to reducing vitamin D intake.

Food IUs per serving
Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon 1,360
Salmon, wild, raw, 3.5 ounces 988
Mackerel, cooked, 3.5 ounces 345
Tuna fish, canned in oil, 3 ounces 200
Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 1.75 ounces 250
Milk, fortified, 1 cup 98
Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon 60
Egg, 1 whole (vitamin D is found in yolk) 41
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified, 0.75-1 cup 40
Raw mushrooms, 1/2 cup 40
Liver, beef, cooked, 3.5 ounces 15

List of foods likely to contain vitamin D

This list is meant to be comprehensive. If a food is not listed here, it probably does not contain vitamin D. Further reassurance can be obtained through internet research or by contacting the manufacturer of the food product. Obviously, it is always a good idea to check the label and with dairy it is prudent to call the manufacturer to make sure they don't use fortified milk to make their yoghurts, sour cream, butter, etc.

<html><!– A comprehensive list of all foods and their vitamin D content is also available.–> </html>


Many dairy products contain Vitamin D either added to the milk or the product uses a fortified milk to make an item. This is not always listed on the label. Call the manufacturer when in doubt. Dairy products containing animal fat are more likely to contain natural vitamin D than those lacking animal fat.

  • most liquid milk (US), including buttermilk, canned cow or goat milk.
  • some powdered milk (check the label)
  • other kinds of “milk” including soy milk, coconut milk (boxed, milk looking carton has add Vitamin D usually–however canned usually has no Vitamin D) rice milk, and nut milks - check the label
  • some yogurts and kefir - check the label, you also might want to call the company to check to see if fortified milk is used to produce it
  • ice cream - if and when eggs/egg yolks/liquid yolk/fortified milk are used
  • cheeses, sour cream and cottage cheese can be fortified with vitamin D or made with milk that is fortified - call manufacturer


Seafood contains naturally-occurring vitamin D. Generally, cold-water fish, such as salmon, have more vitamin D than warm-water fish. Avoid eating:

  • all fish - salmon, tuna, flounder, catfish, sardines, mackerel, cod, herring, anchovies, etc.
  • some shellfish - oysters, shrimp, clams, crayfish (crab, lobster, scallops are possibly Vitamin D free it is prudent to watch ones 25 D until we have solid evidence of this)
  • fish sauce - often found in asian foods
  • caviar (roe)
  • caesar salad dressing (contains anchovies)
  • NOTE: squid and octopus do not contain Vitamin D

Meat and poultry

These is no consensus on how much vitamin D different forms of meat typically contain. Some have suggested that factory feed increase vitamin D levels. Others have said that fattier meats have higher levels of vitamin D. Fattier meats include:

  • beef tripe
  • beef kidney
  • blood pudding
  • sausage made with blood
  • foods fried in pork lard
  • bacon
  • liver - lamb, beef, pork, chicken, pâté, etc.


Anything that contains egg yolks has vitamin D, including:

  • mayonnaise
  • ranch salad dressing

According to new nutrition data from the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), … large eggs now contain 41 IU of vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent [since 2002].

Egg Media Hotline, 8 February 2011


(note: seeds do not contain Vitamin D, but are a rich source of Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, which are immunomodulatory)

  • pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • sunflower seeds
  • flax seeds

Plants and fungi

  • alfalfa
  • mushrooms (contains ergosterol, a vitamin D precursor)
  • seaweed
  • kelp - alginate (food additive), kombu, and several other products used in asian cuisine.


  • fish oils including cod liver oil - contain very high levels of vitamin D


  • kelp supplements
  • multivitamins
  • mushroom supplements
  • omega 3 supplements - often made from krill
  • prescription or over-the-counter herbals - may contain hidden, unlisted vitamin D
  • prescription or over-the-counter minerals - may contain hidden, unlisted vitamin D
  • powdered whey protein supplements - may contain hidden, unlisted vitamin D; note that foods made with whey are not prohibited


Some forms of beer such as Weiss may contain ergosterol, a precursor to vitamin D. Some literature suggests that the cause is the presence of yeast and bacterial cell walls. Highly filtered beers, such as American, Mexican or Japanese lagers likely have the lowest levels of ergosterol. Beer can also contain of fining agents like chitosan (crustacean shell)and Isinglass. These ingredients may or may not be listed depending on where you live and the manufacturer.


Homemade wine, wine kits and store bought wines are suspects and may raise 25D levels. This may be due to the use of chitosan (crustacean shell) in the clarifying process. Another agent used is Isinglass, which is fish based. These may or may not be listed in the ingredient list.

“After about 2.5 years of symptoms worsening and discovering that my 25D level approximately doubled during that time, and after having made significant improvements on the MP prior to this, I finally concluded it was brew-your-own wine kits that contained chitosan and/or isinglass fining agents (crustacean/fish based) that appeared to be the cause. I had been drinking this wine regularly over those last 3 years and was unable to get my 25D down. I decided to stop drinking the wine I made from kits for 3 months and my 25D finally came down. That was the only change to my diet during that time.

During the first 5 years on my MP journey I saw improvements, and it looks like it was due to my 25D being at therapeutic range. Some problems did not return after the 25D increased and others did but not with the same severity that existed prior to starting the MP, demonstrating to me that the treatment did improve my health.”


Baked goods

High vitamin D yeast is now being used in baked goods in Canada and the USA. Products such as Eagle®, Lallemand®, Instaferm®, Vita D Plus by Lallemand, Inc. (a Canadian company specializing in the development, production, and marketing of yeasts and bacteria) are being incorporated in commercial bread products.

Grocery stores and restaurants (such as Subway) are fortifying their bread with Vitamin D. Label reading has never been more critical for patients on the protocol.

Other foods

  • Worcestershire sauce - contains anchovies
  • Caesar salad dressing - contains egg yolks & Worcestershire sauce or anchovies (ingredients)
  • some margarine
  • some breakfast cereals - both hot and cold
  • some protein bars
  • some protein drinks
  • some diet drinks
  • some cereal bars
  • some nutrition bars
  • some fruit juice

===== Notes and comments =====


home/food/vitamind.txt · Last modified: 09.14.2022 by
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