7 Ways to Get More Vitamin D

by Melissa Chichester

Vitamin D deficiency can affect many people across the globe.

The Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio, states that 42% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient as of 2018. Looking back to 2010, a study in the International Journal of Health Sciences noted that more than 1 billion people were Vitamin D deficient globally.

So to get Vitamin D, all you have to do is go outside for a little while, right? That’s partially true, but for people who live in northern climates, areas that do not receive much natural sunlight, or cannot go outside often for other reasons need to find other ways to ensure they are getting this critical vitamin. But before that, it is important to know why Vitamin D is so essential. 

As a fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin D is involved in many vital processes. This includes supporting bone health by helping with the absorption of calcium.* In addition, Vitamin D helps maintain a healthy immune system.* 

>>How the Immune System Works

Currently, the Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin D is 15-20 mcg/day depending on age according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. If you want to make sure that you are receiving enough Vitamin D in your diet and lifestyle, here are seven ways to increase your Vitamin D intake.

Go outside

There are several ways to increase Vitamin D intake, the most obvious way being to get some sunshine. But how much sun do you need?

Harvard Medical School recommends spending 10-15 minutes a few times per week with some of your skin exposed to the sun.

This time span might need to increase if you:

  • Are African American 
  • Live above the 37 degrees latitude 
  • Are over age 65 
  • Have trouble absorbing dietary fats
  • Have certain health conditions impacting the liver and kidneys

Always speak to your doctor about Vitamin D and your health if you are concerned about how to receive it. 

fortified cereal is a source of zinc

Eat fortified foods 

Because Vitamin D is so important, choose a Vitamin D-fortified option when you are grocery shopping. Dairy products, plant milk, tofu, orange juice, and whole grains are commonly fortified with Vitamin D. Read the label and look for the addition of Vitamin D.

Eat fish and seafood

Seafood is one of the best food sources of Vitamin D. The amounts of Vitamin D vary based on whether fish are wild-caught or farmed. Wild-caught is the better choice for high amounts of Vitamin D. Three ounces of wild-caught salmon contains 14 mcg (560 IU) of Vitamin D, while three ounces of rainbow trout contains 16 mcg (640 IU) of Vitamin D. 

Other fatty fish sources of Vitamin D include: 

  • Cod liver oil
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Oysters
  • Shrimp
  • Sardines 

You can still get Vitamin D from these fatty fish if they are canned versus fresh. 

Take a Vitamin D supplement 

Supplements are another easy way to increase your Vitamin D intake if diet alone is not enough. They are available in a variety of doses and types for easy consumption, including: 

How much Vitamin D you need will depend on your current levels, which you can find out with a blood test from your doctor. Always discuss taking supplements with your healthcare practitioner. 

>>Shop all Vitamin D supplements

Eat mushrooms

Did you know that mushrooms are the best plant-based source of Vitamin D?

White, sliced mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light contain 9 mcg (360 IU) of Vitamin D per ½ cup according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.

Wild mushrooms usually have more Vitamin D than commercially grown mushrooms. Read the label when you are shopping for mushrooms at the grocery store, and never eat a mushroom without identifying it first. 

Invest in a UV lamp 

A UV-B lamp is another way to increase Vitamin D levels. These lamps mimic the action of the sun and are a helpful alternative during winter months. It is important not to rely solely on the lamp but rather use it as a complement to the other ways you are getting Vitamin D. 

As you can see, there are many ways to ensure you receive the Vitamin D that you need to support health and wellness. And if you are ever concerned about Vitamin D levels, be sure to discuss it with your healthcare practitioner.