Vitamin D in Eggs

Almost a quarter (23%) of Australian adults have a mild or moderate vitamin D deficiency. In the cooler months, these deficiency levels rise to as high as 40%.

Studies have clearly shown that adequate intake of vitamin D is essential for bone development, skeletal health, healthy muscles and teeth and regulating the immune system.

With an average serving of two eggs providing 82% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin D, eggs contain some of the highest quantities of vitamin D of any food.

Here, Australian Eggs has delved into what exactly vitamin D is, how it benefits our bodies, and where you can find this important nutrient in your daily diet.Single fried egg in pan

WHAT IS VITAMIN D?

Vitamin D, sometimes called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is a fat-soluble vitamin obtained from food and made by the body when sunlight hits the skin. It can also be found in supplements.

BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D

older people and eggs

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in helping us maintain healthy bones and teeth, in muscle function and in regulating our immune system. 

Vitamin D is essential for a range of reasons, including:

  • Bone development in children and skeletal health in adults

  • Calcium and phosphorus absorption and metabolism

  • Regulating the immune system

VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY 

What happens if you don't have enough vitamin D?

If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing weak bones. Unfortunately almost a quarter (23%) of all Australian adults live with mild or moderate vitamin D deficiency. 

Severe vitamin D deficiencies could have major health ramifications – which makes it important to make sure you're getting enough each day.

Some people are at greater risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency, including those who:

  • Elderly and housebound or in residential care

  • Work or stay mostly indoors

  • Have naturally dark skin

  • Have a condition that restricts vitamin D absorption from the diet

  • Are overweight or obese

Fortunately, doctors can diagnose a Vitamin D deficiency by performing a simple blood test.

HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO I NEED?

Recommendations for vitamin D intake vary by age and gender and life stage.

For adults, the Adequate Intake (AI) is 5.0 µg /day for men and women aged 19-50.

The adequate intake recommendations set out by the National Health and Medical Research Council are as follows:

Age

AI

0-6 months

5.0µg/day

7-12 months

5.0µg/day

1-3 yr

5.0 µg/day

4-8 yr

5.0 µg /day

9-13 yr

5.0 µg/day

14-18 yr

5.0 µg/day

19-30 yr

5.0 µg /day

31-50 yr

5.0 µg /day

51-70 yr

10.0 µg /day

>70 yr

15.0 µg /day

DO EGGS HAVE VITAMIN D?

Egg buddha bowl 7481

Recent research found an average serve of eggs (2 x 60g eggs) contains 8.2mcg of vitamin D, a substantial portion of the recommended dietary vitamin D intake. This highlights that eggs are one of the highest natural sources of vitamin D. 

WHERE CAN YOU FIND VITAMIN D?

As long as we are getting sufficient sun exposure, the best source of vitamin D is sunlight.

If you aren't getting enough sun exposure then food sources become even more important. Some foods, like eggs, provide a lot of vitamin D, while others provide smaller amounts. Some of the top food sources of vitamin D include:

  • Eggs
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Mushrooms

Some milk, soy milks, cheese, yoghurt and breakfast cereals may also be fortified with vitamin D. Dietary choices for many Australians can be a key part to maintaining an adequate vitamin D intake. For meal inspiration to boost your vitamin D, download this recipe booklet here.

What about VITAMIN D Supplements?

Eggs versus Supplements

A well-balanced diet and sufficient sunlight exposure are generally enough for most people to meet their daily vitamin D requirements.

However, for those with vitamin D deficiencies, dietary supplements are often recommended. Your healthcare professional will advise if this is the case.

For those without deficiencies or special needs, a well-balanced diet can deliver all the daily vitamins and nutrients required for good health.

According to Dietitian Sharon Natoli, where possible, it is best to eat a well-balanced diet, with plenty of vegetables, sufficient amounts of fruit, whole grains, dairy foods or alternatives, healthy fats and protein-rich foods, like eggs, to meet daily nutritional needs.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF EGGS

Having a high vitamin D content is one of the best health benefits eggs can provide but they can also help you meet many other nutritional needs. Find out more about the role of eggs in daily nutrition today.