Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is an essential anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting vitamin with various essential health benefits. Vitamin D can help activate the germ-fighting power of our immune cells to protect us in the presence of infection, boost mood, keep our muscles healthy, and aid in the absorption of calcium and phosphate, which helps to keep our bones and teeth strong.
Not getting enough Vitamin D can also leave us with lowered immunity, making us more susceptible to viral and bacterial respiratory infections, which can be more challenging for our bodies to fight without it. In fact, a recent study found that 82.2% of COVID 19 patients were deficient in vitamin D. Moreover, people with a vitamin D deficiency are more likely to suffer from additional health issues like obesity, diabetes, depression, heart problems, weak muscles, brittle bones, rickets (in children), and several kinds of cancer.
Are you getting the right amount of Vitamin D?
According to the national institute of health, exposure to the sun between 10 am to 3 pm twice a week for 5-30 minutes without sunscreen can be enough to generate a healthy amount of vitamin D. Still, since our body requires sunlight to produce vitamin D, it can be pretty easy to become deficient, especially in colder climates.
Most people obtain adequate vitamin D from the month of late March to the end of September through exposure to sunlight and a balanced diet. But due to current modern lifestyles, spending much of our time indoors can prevent adequate exposure to sunlight and can interfere with and even prevent a healthy amount of vitamin D production in the body.
Certain groups of people are at a greater risk to develop vitamin D deficiency, which includes:
- Older populations.
- People with limited exposure to sunlight
- People in cloudy regions or cold winter climates
- People with dark skin.
- People with obesity.
- People with digestive problems can cause malabsorption.
- People in quarantine.
The Best Ways to Get Enough Vitamin D
The best way to get enough vitamin D is through exposure to the sun, however; if your exposure is not enough, then try to add food sources that are rich in vitamin D. If you find it challenging to achieve the right level of vitamin D, then dietary supplements are highly recommended.
The Institute of Medicine has verified the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) expressed in International Units or IU. For ages from 1- till 70 years, the RDA of vitamin D is 600IU per day, while 800IU per day is recommended for people above 70 years (1). These values can be varied up to 5000 IU per day depending upon health needs.
Food Sources of Vitamin D
Here is an essential fat-soluble vitamin list of some of the best natural and fortified Vitamin D-containing foods. You’ll notice that most of the foods on this list containing vitamin D naturally are from animal sources.