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Expert Advice: ‘How Can I Boost My Vitamin D Intake Without Supplements?’

"There's a surprising standout in your grocery store produce aisle."


Nowadays, it’s no surprise when a doctor reviews your annual blood test results and recommends vitamin D supplements. An estimated 42 percent of the US population is deficient in the essential nutrient, which helps the body retain calcium and phosphorus, reduces inflammation, increases energy, and improves immune system function. But are vitamin D pills really the only way for you to get adequate amounts of this nutrient? One of our readers wrote in to our experts, Mira Calton and Dr. Jayson Calton, asking about dietary sources of vitamin D. Read their response below.

Meet our expert panel.

Nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, are leading authorities on nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. They are also the bestselling authors of Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol. To ask them a question, send an email to

How To Boost Your Vitamin D Intake

Q: I know vitamin D is good for me, and I’d like to get more from my diet. I do eat eggs, but I’m allergic to seafood, which is a top source. How else can I get enough without supplements?

A: While seafoods like salmon and tuna are high in vitamin D, eggs are another top source. But there’s a surprising standout in your grocery store produce aisle: mushrooms. They contain ergosterol, a compound that helps form vitamin D in the presence of UV light. But since mushrooms are grown in darkness, you have to expose them to light to start the process. Simply slice them and place in a single layer on a tray in a window that gets direct sunlight for six to eight hours. (If this dries them out, you can rehydrate them, if needed, by soaking them in water.)

While there’s no guarantee that it will work for you at home, the strategy has been shown to significantly increase mushrooms’ vitamin D content. Combined with the eggs you’re already eating and other D sources, such as fortified cereal, juices and dairy products, adding mushrooms to your repertoire can help you reach the 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D that most experts advise daily for good health.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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