- Multiple sclerosis
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
1. EAT FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN D
Although vitamin D only occurs in a few foods naturally, it’s often added to others. Adding these foods to your diet—or adjusting how frequently you eat them—is a good way to increase your vitamin D levels naturally.
Foods including fatty fish, fish liver oil, egg yolks, and mushrooms naturally have high levels of vitamin D.7 Other foods, especially dairy and plant-based milk, are frequently fortified with vitamin D.
Below are foods that are good sources of vitamin D
While it is helpful to know which foods are a good source of vitamin D, actually incorporating them into your diet can be a bit more tricky. Heather Shannon at UCI Health has put together a list of six recipes that are high in vitamin D to help get you started.
2. GET MORE SUNSHINE
Most people get some of their vitamin D through sun exposure, but it’s generally not enough. Everything from the current season to cloud cover, sunscreen, and even the melatonin levels of your skin can affect whether or not you’re getting enough of the sunshine vitamin—and if you work an office job, you’re probably getting even less sun.
One study found that levels of vitamin D 25-hydroxy (25 OH) were significantly higher in individuals who engaged in outdoor pastimes compared to those who did not. Luckily, there are plenty of outdoor activities that are both fun and can help you get more vitamin D. Some things to try include:
- Outdoor sports (basketball, soccer, tennis, etc.)Although sun exposure is crucial for vitamin D production, UV radiation is a known carcinogen and is responsible for most of the estimated 1.5 million skin cancers that occur every year in the United States.8 Before engaging in additional outdoor time, talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of UV exposure. Tanning beds should be specifically avoided.
3. TAKE DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS
Even when you add foods that are rich in vitamin D to your diet and spend more time in the sun, you may not get enough. A third way to up the amount of vitamin D you’re getting is by taking supplements.
There are many options available, with most requiring just one capsule a day. For example, the vitamin subscription service Care/of offers two versions of vitamin D—a standard capsule and a vegan version made from algae. Both provide 1000 international units (IUs) of vitamin D per capsule and can be delivered on a monthly basis.
When choosing a vitamin D supplement, check that the supplement is made of natural ingredients and doesn’t contain heavy metals or pesticides.