There has been a lot of media hype surrounding Vitamin D since the pandemic hit. The sunshine pill has been hailed as a drug that has the potency to boost a person's immunity. Dr Anthony Fauci and some research studies have fueled this hype on media platforms. Given this, Vitamin D deficiency is a matter of great concern.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D or calciferol is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in some foods or added to others and is available as a dietary supplement. It can also be produced in our bodies when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and result in its production.
The body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium, to support growth and normal bone mineralization. It also helps the body in many of its functions – immune, digestive, circulatory and nervous. Normal Vitamin D levels in a person's body have been suggested by research to be able to prevent many diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart diseases.
How much of Vitamin D does one need daily?
It is recommended that one takes a daily dose of 600 to 2000 IU of Vitamin D daily to reach and maintain healthy blood levels of this vitamin.
Now let's dive into how one can up their Vitamin D levels.
#1: GET SOME SUNLIGHT
No wonder Vitamin D is called the sunshine pill; sunlight is one of its best sources. The human skin harbors a kind of cholesterol (a compound or the skin's Vitamin D precursor) that produces this vitamin when it is exposed to the sun's UV-B radiation. This may depend on a person's skin tone and age, where you live in the world, the use of sunscreen and certain clothes you wear. Darker skins contain a lot of melanin which hinders Vitamin D production. Ageing also slows down a person's ability to produce Vitamin D and as it appears, people who live close to the equator produce more Vitamin D since they are closer to the sun's rays. Besides that, using sunscreen a lot and also wearing certain clothes can prevent one's exposure to sunlight and reduce the production of Vitamin D. All in all, about 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily is needed though one must use sunscreen and not be overly exposed to avoid getting skin cancer.
#2: EAT FOODS RICH IN VITAMIN D
Improving your body's Vitamin D levels can be as simple as making a lot of changes in one's diet. A person needs to incorporate Vitamin D-rich foods into their diet. Some of these foods are seafood and fatty fish (sardines, mackerel, shrimps, oysters, tuna and anchovies), red meat, egg yolks, cheese, liver and mushrooms.
#3: TAKE A SUPPLEMENT
This way may be the next best source of this nutrient after exposure to sunlight, especially during cold seasons like fall or winter. To get the most out of this way of getting Vitamin D, go for supplements that contain the D3 form of Vitamin D. D3 or cholecalciferol is obtained from animals and is more effective in raising and maintaining Vitamin D levels than its counterpart, the D2 or ergocalciferol. D2 is obtained from a plant source. And by all means, speak to your doctor about health concerns before going on a Vitamin D supplement.
As a rule of thumb, how much Vitamin D supplement one needs to take depend on your current levels. Ideally, however, take a daily dosage as recommended by your physician or as indicated on your medication.
Regular physical activity aids in the production of Vitamin D. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers have found that people who exercised vigorously have higher levels of Vitamin D. One therefore needs to make high to medium physical activity such as running, jogging or playing soccer a part of their fitness routine.
#5: EAT FORTIFIED FOODS
Not only is Vitamin D found in natural foods but in certain fortified foods as well. Fortified foods can be an alternative source of Vitamin D since Vitamin D levels in natural foods are minimal. Through a process called fortification, this nutrient is added to staple foods like cow's milk, cereals, oatmeal, tofu, soy milk and orange juice. Making these staple foods a part of one's diet can increase your Vitamin D intake.
Disclaimer: The information shared by this post is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be professional medical advice nor a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician concerning anything you have read here.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
Leave a comment and share this post on social media.