Getting sufficient amount of Vitamin D is essential for our health. Referred to as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, vitamin D is somewhat different from other vitamins.
Vitamin D is in fact a steroid hormone which is produced out of cholesterol when our body is exposed to sun. That being said, sun exposer is not the only way to get vitamin D. Other sources of vitamin D include vitamin D supplements and certain foods high in vitamin D.
Low levels of vitamin D can lead to weak bones, dementia, diabetes, and depression. If you’d like to know your vitamin D levels, there is a test called 25-hydroxy vitamin D test.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins (others are A, E, and K) which dissolves in fat/oil and hence is stored in our body for a long time.
The two important forms of Vitamin D are Vitamin D3 (found in egg yolks, fatty fish) and Vitamin D2 (found in mushrooms). Research indicates D3 to be twice as effective as D2 at increasing blood levels of Vitamin D.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
If you’re vitamin D deficient, it’s always better to first check with a medical expert before proceeding with taking supplements. However, these are the signs which may indicate that you’re vitamin D deficient:
- Frequent bone or joint pains
- Muscle weakness
- Cardiovascular Illness
3 Proven Ways to Get More Vitamin D
Sunshine is the best source of vitamin D. The ultraviolet B (UVB) rays can produce vitamin D by converting the cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3.
Getting exposed to sun while driving or sitting at home is of no use. If you live in sunny areas, then the best thing you can do is to take a walk early in the morning. Since vitamin D is stored in the body for a long time, occasional walks of 10-30 minutes can do the trick.
2. Vitamin D Supplements
The next best way to get vitamin D is through supplements.
There are two forms of vitamin D supplements:
- vitamin D2 supplements
- vitamin D3 supplements
Vitamin D3 supplements are closer to what our bodies produce naturally and there is evidence that vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2 is boosting vitamin D levels in our body.
3. Foods with Vitamin D
While there are vitamin D rich foods, you may have to consume them more often to boost the vitamin D levels in your body. As such, it’s always better to combine with the first two ways.
Foods rich in vitamin D are mostly animal products such as:
- egg yolk
- cod liver oil
If you’re a vegetarian, include mushrooms in your diet as it’s a food high in vitamin D.
The best way to increase the vitamin D levels in your body is through exposure to sun. Also keep in mind that our body needs sufficient magnesium for vitamin D to function.
If you’d like to learn more about vitamin D, then check out Vitamin D Council’s website and stay up-to-date with the all the latest news and research on vitamin D.