You might be surprised to learn that over a third of adults in the United States don’t get enough vitamin D. In fact, vitamin D deficiency is the most common medical condition in the world and is especially likely to occur in the winter months when people don’t get enough sunlight. This is because ultraviolet sunlight absorbed through your skin triggers vitamin D production and that’s why it’s sometimes referred to as “the sunshine vitamin.”
Vitamin D holds a few other surprises as well.
In this short guide, you’ll find out:
-Vitamin D’s unexpected wellness role in your body
-How a vitamin D deficiency can negatively impact your health
-Four fast ways to boost your vitamin D levels in wintertime
1. Add More Fish, Eggs, and Mushrooms to Your Diet
Certain types of fish and seafood are naturally rich in vitamin D. These include:
In addition, cod liver oil, eggs, and beef are great sources of vitamin D,For vegetarians and vegans, mushrooms are the best natural option. However, just like people, these fungi need to be exposed to the sun in order to produce vitamin D, so be sure to leave them by a window or other spot with natural rays.
2. Use an Ultraviolet (UV) Lamp
The sun emits a type of light known as UVB, and it’s synthesized by your skin (via a compound called 7-DHC) to begin vitamin D production in your body.A UVB lamp works by using the same type of rays as the sun so that you can stay indoors where it’s warm and still get the benefits of a sunny summer day. In fact, some LED lights at certain wavelengths have been found to be more efficient at stimulating the skin’s vitamin D production than the sun!
It’s recommended to check with your healthcare provider before beginning a UV light therapy routine because certain factors, like skin melanin content and age, may affect absorption and production rates.
3. Try Nutritional Supplements
Humans and animals produce vitamin D3, while plants like mushrooms produce vitamin D2. Some science suggests that vitamin D2 is the less effective of the two.If you eat fish and meat, you can look for supplements that contain vitamin D3. Vegan and vegetarian options may contain vitamin D2, although some manufacturers have begun to produce vegan-friendly vitamin D3.
These vitamin D supplements come in a wide array of convenient options, including powders, capsules, drops, gummies, softgels, chewables, and sprays.
4. Add in Vitamin D Fortified Foods
There are fortified versions of some of the most common foods to help you get the extra vitamin D you need throughout the winter months (and the entire year). These include milk, cereals, juices, fat spreads, and yogurt.
Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, always make sure you avoid fat-free fortified items. The amount of vitamin D may also vary between products, so be sure to check the labels!