Vitamin D is a necessary component for a variety of body systems, including the formation and maintenance of strong bones. Vitamin D deficiency is a key public health concern around the world. In fact, vitamin D insufficiency affects 13% of the world's population, according to estimates.
8 simple strategies to enhance your vitamin D levels.
Spend time outside
Since the sun is one of the best sources of vitamin D, the vitamin is commonly known as "the sunshine vitamin."
A form of cholesterol found in your skin serves as a precursor to vitamin D. Vitamin D is formed when this molecule is exposed to UV-B rays from the sun. Vitamin D from the sun can last up to twice as long as vitamin D from diet or supplements.
However, the amount of vitamin D your body produces is determined by factors like geographical location and season, skin tone and age, sunscreen and clothing.
Use sunscreen when outside
The Arthritis Foundation suggests receiving 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine exposure every other day to boost vitamin D levels. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) light aids in the production of vitamin D in your body.
Overexposure to UV rays, on the other hand, can lead to skin cancer. Hence, it's recommended to use sunscreen to shield your body while it gets the necessary sunshine.
Eat fatty fish and seafood
One of the best natural food sources that contain Vitamin D are seafoods and fatty fish.
In fact, a 100-gram portion of sustainably sourced canned salmon can deliver up to 386 IU (International Units) of vitamin D, which is roughly half of the recommended daily intake.
The amount of vitamin D found in seafood differs depending on the type and species. For instance, several studies reveal that farmed salmon may only comprise a quarter of the amount of wild-caught salmon.
Here are some fish and seafood rich in vitamin D:
Make Mushrooms a part of your diet
Did you know that the only vegetarian source of vitamin D is mushrooms?
When exposed to UV radiation, mushrooms, like humans, can produce their own vitamin D. D3 or cholecalciferol is produced by humans, whereas D2 or ergocalciferol is produced by mushrooms. Although both forms of this vitamin can enhance vitamin D levels in the blood, research suggests that D3 is more effective and efficient than D2.
While the amount of vitamin D in each mushroom varies, some species, such as wild maitake mushrooms, can supply up to 2,348 IU per 100-gram. This amounts to over 300% of the RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake).
Wild mushrooms offer higher vitamin D than conventionally grown varieties due to their exposure to sunshine. You can, however, buy mushrooms that have been exposed to UV radiation.
Consume egg yolks
Egg yolks are also a vitamin D-rich food, which you can easily incorporate into your diet.
Eggs from barn or caged chickens who do not have access to the outdoors often contain only 2–5% of the RDI. However, depending on how much time the birds spend outside, eggs from pasture-raised or free-range chickens can provide up to 4 times more — or nearly 20% of the RDI.
The vitamin D content of eggs can also be affected by chicken feed. Those given vitamin-D-fortified grain may have yolks that contain much more than 100% of the RDI.
Eat fortified foods
As only a few foods naturally contain high levels of vitamin D, fortification is frequently used to add this vitamin to everyday food.
Some fortified foods include:
- Soy, almond, and hemp milk
- Cow’s milk
- Ready-to-eat cereals
- Orange juice
- Certain kinds of yogurt
Try taking supplements
Taking a vitamin D supplement might be the best approach to prevent vitamin D deficiency for many people. D2 or ergocalciferol and D3 or cholecalciferol – are the two primary vitamin D biological forms. D2 is derived from plants, while D3 is derived from animals.
Research suggests that D3 is more effective than D2 at raising and maintaining overall vitamin D levels, so a supplement containing this form may be more efficient.
It's also critical to get high-quality supplements that have undergone independent testing.
Use a UV lamp
UV-B-emitting lamps can help you get more vitamin D, albeit they are expensive. Your skin may create vitamin D on its own when exposed to UV-B rays from the sun. UV lamps replicate the sun's effect and might be particularly beneficial if your sun exposure is limited owing to geography or time spent indoors.
With these devices, safety is a major concern, as too much exposure can cause skin burns. Limit your light exposure to a maximum of 15 minutes at a time.
Vitamin D deficiency is commonplace today. However, you may boost your vitamin D levels by increasing your sun exposure, consuming vitamin D-rich foods, or taking supplements.