Vitamin D

The 10 Easiest Ways to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Why is vitamin D so important to your health? Your body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. It also helps to regulate the immune system and neuromuscular system. It also plays major roles in the life cycle of human cells.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other illnesses. People with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of disease.

It is estimated that about 42% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient. Some segments of the population have even higher risk of deficiency, including premenopausal women, those with poor nutrition habits, people over 65, those who avoid even minimal sun exposure, and those who are taking long term prescription medications for heartburn, acid reflux, and constipation. Certain medical situations, such as celiac disease, bariatric surgery, obesity, and chronic kidney or liver disease, can contribute to vitamin D deficiency.

You can find out if you’re vitamin D deficient with a simple blood test. If you are deficient, here are 10 ways to easily increase your vitamin D levels:

1. Sunlight

Vitamin D is often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin.” Our skin makes vitamin D in the presence of sunlight. But the amount of vitamin D your body makes can depend on several factors, such as skin tone (darker skin absorbs less vitamin D), the part of the body that is exposed, the season of the year, etc.

2. Seafood

Fatty fish and seafood, such as tuna, rainbow trout, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, and anchovies, are among the richest natural food sources of vitamin D.

3. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are the only completely plant-based source of vitamin D. Like humans, mushrooms can make their own vitamin D upon exposure to UV light. Shiitake mushrooms are especially recommended for their vitamin D content.

4. Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are a common source of vitamin D that can be easily added to your diet if you want to increase your levels.

5. Fortified Foods
Vitamin D is added to many foods to increase their nutrient value. Some fortified goods include soy, almond, and hemp milk, orange juice, cereals, yogurt, and tofu.

6. Dairy Foods
Dairy products, such as swiss cheese, cow’s milk, curds, and cottage cheese are good sources of vitamin D.

7. Cod Liver Oil
A tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 1360 international units of vitamin D. Consumption of it with warm water or in the form of capsules may increase vitamin D levels.

8. Supplements
Taking a vitamin D supplement may be the most consistent way for many people to increase their levels. It is important to consult your doctor as to how much to take and be sure not to take too much, because that could adversely affect your health as well.

9. Ultraviolet (UV) Lamp
When skin is exposed to UV-B radiation from the sun, it’s able to produce its own vitamin D. UV lamps mimic the action of the sun and when used in small increments of no more than 15 minutes at a time, can increase vitamin D levels.

10. Daily Exercise
Research has proven that people engaging in regular physical activity like walking, jogging, or cycling have higher vitamin D levels.

It’s always important to consult your doctor to find out what your vitamin D levels are and what is recommended for you. You and your doctor can determine together what methods would be best for you if you’re vitamin D deficient.