I'd like to take cod liver oil or something similar to boost my vitamin D levels (which are low). I want something totally natural. Is there any way to take cod liver oil without feeling the reported awful taste of it ? If not, what other alternatives are there ?

  • 1
    At what latitude do you live? It may be possible to get your vitamin D up by just spending 30 minutes outside per day.
    – user3085
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 15:30
  • This is a nutrition question which are off topic according to the new FAQ.
    – Baarn
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 22:24

2 Answers 2


Your best 'natural' options will probably be...

UV exposed mushrooms

...after one hour of UV light exposure right before the mushrooms were harvested, the vitamin D2 content in a serving of mushrooms rose to more than twice the FDA daily value. The effects were even more pronounced if mushrooms were exposed after harvesting: Monterey Mushrooms found increases as high as four times the FDA daily value per serving after only five minutes of UV treatment.

Exposure to sunlight with no sunscreen

Sunscreen absorbs ultraviolet light and prevents it from reaching the skin. It has been reported that sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 based on the UVB spectrum can decrease vitamin D synthetic capacity by 95 percent, whereas sunscreen with an SPF of 15 can reduce synthetic capacity by 98 percent

The more surface area that's exposed the more vitamin D is produced. The darker your skin the less you absorb. Tanning beds will also work but not nearly as well as real sunlight because they primarily output UVA light (UVB is needed for vitamin D synthesis).

Vitamin D3 is made in the skin when 7-dehydrocholesterol reacts with ultraviolet light of UVB type at wavelengths between 270 and 300 nm, with peak synthesis occurring between 295 and 297 nm.

Cod liver oil, while having a lot of vitamin D may also come with other risks. Including...

Hypervitaminosis A - Overdose of vitamin A

Although hypervitaminosis A can occur when large amounts of liver (including cod liver oil and other fish oils) are regularly consumed, most cases of vitamin A toxicity result from an excess intake of vitamin A in the form of vitamin supplements.

Environmental toxins such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins

Some urge caution when taking cod liver oil and other fish-based supplements since they may contain elevated levels of toxins such as mercury and PCBs found in fish.

If you overdo it, you could be doing more harm than good.


Here you go.


  • 4
    Welcome to Fitness and Nutrition Beta! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 11:46
  • Vitamin D rich food is perfect for the long term, but for a short term fix I need something way stronger !
    – drake035
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 15:23

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