An estimated 13 percent of Americans may not be getting enough Vitamin D. And according to Healthline, symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency include getting sick often, depression, back and joint pain, bone loss, hair loss, and fatigue. In a report from Scientific American experts said they believe Vitamin D deficiency is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Plus, a Vitamin D deficiency may mess with your sleep.
If you’re worried about low Vitamin D levels, ask your doctor to check them for you the next time you have blood drawn. And here are a few easy ways to increase your Vitamin D levels, too.
Take Vitamin D supplements.
The recommended intake for American adults varies, depending on who you ask. The Endocrine Society recommends that adults get up to 1,500 to 2,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily, whereas the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommends just 600 IU for adults age 19-70.
In an interview for the Mayo Clinic website, Dr. Donald Hensrud said that “1,000 to 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D from a supplement is generally safe, should help people achieve an adequate blood level of vitamin D, and may have additional health benefits.”
According to the Vitamin D Council, “Vitamin D3 is the best kind of supplement to take. It comes in a number of different forms, such as tablets and capsules, but it doesn’t matter what form you take, or what time of the day you take it.”
Get more time in the sun.
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” for a reason — because the main way to get it is to expose your bare skin to sunlight. If you are (rightfully) serious about sun protection, your body may not be able to create enough Vitamin D naturally.
“You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D,” The Vitamin D Council explains. “You only need to expose your skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to begin to burn. How much Vitamin D is produced from sunlight depends on the time of day, where you live in the world and the color of your skin. The more skin you expose, the more vitamin D is produced.”
Eat foods rich in Vitamin D.
WebMD recommends cheese, egg yolks, beef liver, and fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon. There are also plenty of foods fortified with Vitamin D, including cereals, milk and dairy products, and orange juice. And Prevention lists some surprising sources of Vitamin D, including Shiitake mushrooms, yogurt, almond milk, tofu, and oatmeal.
When it comes to increasing your Vitamin D levels, these foods aren’t nearly as helpful as sun exposure or supplements. That said, it can’t hurt to add them to your diet.
Featured image: bitt24/Shutterstock
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