How to replenish Vitamin D Levels ?
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, is an essential fat-soluble vitamin.
It can either be obtained in the diet, through food and dietary supplements, or synthesized in the skin upon exposure to sunlight.
Although classified as a vitamin, it should be considered a prohormone because it is involved in many metabolic processes in the body.
Vitamin D plays a role in calcium and phosphorus balance important in bone health, and nerve and muscle activity.
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It also regulates blood pressure, immune function, cell production, and insulin secretion.
It plays a potential role in prevention and therapy of cancer and chronic conditions such as autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and infections.
Top 7 Health Benefits of Vitamin D
1. Contributes to Bone Health
2. Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels and Can Prevent Diabetes
3. Protects Against Cancer
4. Combats Heart Disease
5. Enhances the Immune System
6. Facilitates Hormone Regulation and Helps Improve Mood
7. Helps with Concentration, Learning and Memory
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency :
People who are vitamin D deficient may not have any symptoms at all or symptoms may be vague.
Vitamin D deficiency manifests as fatigue, symmetric low back pain, throbbing bone pain, muscle weakness and aches, sweating, digestive problems, obesity, mood swings, and impaired immunity.
Vitamin D deficiency can come from:
-Inadequate sun exposure
-Geographical locations (latitude and altitudes), atmospheric conditions (air pollution, the presence of clouds), and seasonal changes influence the intensity of UVB radiation and thus vitamin D production in skin.
-People with a dark skin, African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Higher skin melanin content reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D.
-Wearing protective clothing and hats, and applying sunscreens, reduce skin exposure to sunlight.
-Malabsorption of vitamin D.
-Low vitamin D intake.
-Strict vegan diet.
-Infants who are exclusively breastfed and do not receive vitamin D supplementation.
Sunshine: The most abundant source of Vitamin D
The most simple and an effective way to get vitamin D is spending some time in the sun. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because our bodies can actually absorb vitamin D from exposure to the sun.
Adequate sun exposure can be really helpful to boost your vitamin D intake.
You get 400 units of vitamin D from a glass of fortified milk versus 20,000 units of Vitamin D from 30 min of unprotected sun exposure.
Vitamin D Intake Recommended for Different Age-Groups
|Life Stage||Recommended Amount|
|Birth to 12 months||400 IU|
|Children 1-13 years||600 IU|
|Teens 14-18 years||600 IU|
|Adults 19-70 years||600 IU|
|Adults 71 years and older||800 IU|
|Pregnant and breastfeeding women||600 IU|
6 Foods to boost your vitamin D levels :
Extremely healthy and a delicious source of vitamin D mushrooms can be easily included in your diet. Mushrooms are also rich in other vitamins like B vitamins and potassium.
You can easily include mushrooms in your diet by adding them in your salads, sandwiches, soups and wraps.
2 Egg yolk:
Yet another reason to include eggs in our daily diet! But Vitamin D is found only in the yolk of the egg. Whole eggs in general contain all the essential amino acids and are an excellent source of choline and healthy fats.
So, if you are vitamin D deficient, include whole eggs in your early morning breakfast or evening snacks.
3 Fatty fish:
Apart from omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, herring and tuna are good sources of vitamin D.
Since, the vitamin is fat-soluble it needs fat for absorption.
Full-fat milk is a good option to meet your daily requirements of vitamin D. Fat present in the whole milk but absent from skim milk, naturally contains some amount of vitamin D.
You can even try soya milk as it rich in vitamin D. Even soya products like tofu and tempeh are rich sources of calcium and vitamin D.
Some types of cheese like swizz, goat and ricotta cheese are viable sources of both vitamin C and D. Apart from essential vitamins, cheese are also a good source of healthy fats and can be easily included in your diet.
You can simple have a cube of cheese as an evening snack, add it your sandwiches or soups.
Fresh fish aren’t the only way to boost your vitamin D intake; you can get vitamin D from a can, too.
Canned tuna fish and canned sardines both contain vitamin D, and are usually less expensive than fresh fish.
Plus, a longer shelf life makes the canned products easy to stock up on and use at your leisure. Canned light tuna has the most vitamin D—about 150 IUs per 4 ounces—while canned sardines have a little more than 40 IUs per two sardines.
During autumn and winter months, or if sun exposure is simply not an option for you, you may need vitamin D supplementation because it’s hard to get it from food alone.
There are two types of vitamin D: D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is produced in mushrooms when they are exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D3 is naturally present in animal fats. Studies show supplementing with D3 is better than D2 at raising your blood levels of the active form of vitamin D, calcifediol. In one study it was even twice as effective.
These guidelines are generally for those who are looking to take a vitamin D supplement in addition to their dietary vitamin D intake.