If you want to know how to increase vitamin D levels quickly, you have probably been told it is essential for your wellbeing or that you have a deficiency. Keep reading to learn more about vitamin D and why it is so important for your health.
What is Vitamin D?
One of the essential nutrients your body needs to maintain strong bones and muscle is vitamin D. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, as we primarily get our vitamin D from sunlight exposure.
It is a hormone the body makes and a nutrient we eat and absorb- and one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in humans. It is fat-soluble, meaning it dissolves in fat and oil and is stored in our liver and fatty tissue.
It helps the body retain the calcium and phosphorus needed for strong bones. There are a few different types of vitamin D, including vitamin D2 and D3.
However, to get enough vitamin D, it goes beyond just staying in the sun for a few hours, which happens only on a few occasions for most people and is very much dependent on a person’s home environment and climate.
When an adult’s body lacks vitamin D, it can lead to a chronic deficiency called osteoporosis. That means your bones will weaken, become softer (osteomalacia) and be in a fragile state. Consequently, you become exposed to muscle weakness and an increased risk of sudden falls.
Again, vitamin D has a huge role to play in our health and functional well-being. Not only does it support bone growth, but also calcium absorption, and complete mineralisation. It also boosts the healthy functioning of the immune system, heart, digestive system, and much more.
With such a crucial role in human health, it is very important to ensure you are getting enough. Unfortunately, many people don’t have enough vitamin D. In fact, over one billion people are vitamin D deficient. Learn more about vitamin D in this article as it explores the different ways you can increase your vitamin D levels to suit the environment you live in.
5 Effective Ways to Increase Vitamin D Levels Quickly
NHS guidelines recommend that adults get 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, including pregnant and breastfeeding women or those at risk of a deficiency. Here are some ways you can increase your levels:
About 90% of our vitamin D comes from sunlight. Naturally, our skin has specific cholesterol that makes vitamin D only in the presence of the sun, which is the first step of vitamin D synthesis before it is transformed in the liver and kidneys. The vitamin D your body makes depends on several factors, including your skin tone, health history, diet, where you live, age and the exposed part of the body.
For example, people with dark skin tones need to spend more time in the sun to get enough vitamin D. That’s because their body’s excess melanin may inhibit UV-B radiation from the sun to perform its job. It is best to limit your exposure to the sun to 600 – 800 IU daily to maintain an adequate vitamin D level in your body.
During the summer months, most people get enough vitamin D from sun exposure, but in the UK it is recommended to supplement between the months of October and late March due to darker days. During April – September, 11am – 3pm is the best time. However, application of sunscreen will reduce vitamin D production by 95%, so it is best to avoid sunscreen for the times stated above.
Mushrooms are the best plant-based source of vitamin D. They are particularly effective because they can produce their vitamin D with exposure to sunlight. While humans make a form of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), mushrooms produce D2 (ergocalciferol). A fun fact is that you can increase a mushroom’s vitamin D content by leaving them out in the sun for a few hours!
Wild mushrooms generally have a better content of vitamin D as they are naturally exposed to more sunlight. Examples you can easily find in the UK are closed cap, portobello and chestnut. Tesco also sells mushrooms that are specifically enriched in vitamin D by growing them under extra light!
Consume more seafood
Fatty fish and seafood are some of the richest natural sources of vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D you get from seafood depends on the particular seafood and quantity. For instance, about 3 – 5 ounces of served salmon will give you 386 IU of vitamin D. Other seafood with high heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids are mackerel, tuna, sardines, oysters, trout, shrimps, and anchovies.
Egg yolk is another easy way of getting vitamin D. Vitamin D content in an egg yolk depends on the quality of the vitamin D content in the chicken feed and conditions the chickens live in; for example, chickens that roam out in the sunlight produce egg yolks with 3 to 4 times the amount of vitamin D than caged chickens. For this reason, it is better to choose eggs from free range chickens.
Use A Vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D supplements are the only way many people get enough vitamin D. As stated earlier; Vitamin D exists in two primary forms – D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). While D2 comes from plants like mushrooms, D3 is produced by animals.
Research has revealed that D3 may be more effective at boosting and maintaining overall vitamin D levels than D2. This is relatively easy since humans produce the D3 form of vitamin D. Therefore, you will get an adequate amount of vitamin D when you choose a supplement in the form of D3.
Vitamin deficiency (very low levels of vitamin D – 25mmol/l), rather than insufficiency (25 – 50mmol/l) needs a six-week course of high dose of vitamin D. This is by far the quickest way to increase extremely low Vit D levels, and it is only available on prescription.
Get more fortified food
Only a few foods contain vitamin D; Hence, it is often added to everyday foods in the form of fortification. You should confirm the availability of these foods in your country and check the amounts added. Some fortified foods include cow’s milk, cereals, margarine, almond, milk, orange juice, soy, cereals, and yoghurts.
Vitamin D is a vital ingredient your body needs to maintain proper function, however, only a few people get the required daily intake. You can boost your chances of getting enough vitamin D in many ways.
These include exposure to sunlight, taking vitamin D supplements, and eating foods rich in vitamin D. If you are unsure whether you are getting enough vitamin D, we recommend taking a vitamin d blood test to take at-home. You get your results in as fast as a couple of days and it’s a really easy process.