Vitamin D is one of the many nutrients needed for individuals to ensure they are keeping themselves healthy. Vitamin D is definitely a multi-purpose nutrient as it provides benefits all over your body. Vitamin D provides bone health, muscle strength, and it is extremely important for your immune system in order to protect you from getting sick or to help you recover. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, children, teens and adults ranging from one to 70 years old should be getting about 15 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin D per day. Individuals can get this Vitamin D from sunlight, supplements, and food and drinks; but what if people are getting enough?
There are many different reasons why individuals could become Vitamin D deficient. “People can develop vitamin D deficiency when usual intakes are lower over time than recommended levels, exposure to sunlight is limited, the kidneys cannot convert 25(OH)D to its active form, or absorption of vitamin D from the digestive tract is inadequate.” Although this deficiency can really occur in anyone who fails to get enough of the nutrient, there are certain groups that are more likely to develop this deficiency, such as:
● Breastfed infants
● Older adults
● People with limited sun exposure
● People with dark skin
● People with conditions that limit fat absorption
● People who are obese or have undergone gastric bypass surgery
So how can you combat your Vitamin D deficiency?
One of the best ways to increase the amount of Vitamin D in your system is to get more exposure to sunlight. Sitting in the sun or going for a walk on a sunny day is a simple, and free, way to help fight your Vitamin D deficiency. Some people may not be able to get enough sunlight due to where they live, or their skin just may not allow for them to absorb as much sunlight as lighter skin tones would. So, another option to increase the amount of Vitamin D in your body is by either getting a prescription from a doctor or by buying over-the-counter Vitamin D at the store. Many stores have Vitamin D supplements that cost around five to 15 USD, which is not too expensive, but getting a prescription from a doctor might be cheaper if your insurance covers it. One other way to increase your Vitamin D intake is to just consume more foods that contain Vitamin D. Some foods and drinks that have high levels of Vitamin D that would help you to reach the daily recommended intake are salmon, trout, raw white mushrooms, and a variety of milks. The best way to increase the amount of Vitamin D in your body would be to incorporate a combination of these methods into your daily routine.
If you would like to learn more about Vitamin D and why it is important, check out our other blog here!
References:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements - vitamin D. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements - vitamin D. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/  Ibid.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements - vitamin D. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
Author: Lauryn Agron
Editor: Kaitlyn Longstaff
Public Health Scientist: Samantha Nicholson