Vitamin D is an essential vitamin required by the body for the absorption of calcium, bone development, immune functioning, and alleviation of inflammation. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, a weakened immune system, increased cancer risk, poor hair growth, and osteomalacia. Excess vitamin D can cause the body to absorb too much calcium, leading to increased risk of heart disease and kidney stones.
Vitamin D is oil soluble, which means you need to eat fat to absorb it. Natural foods high in vitamin D include fish oils, fatty fish, mushrooms, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Vitamin D is also naturally made by your body when you expose your skin to the sun and is called the sunshine vitamin. In addition, vitamin D is widely added to many foods such as milk and orange juice, and can also simply be consumed as a supplement.
The most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). This can happen very quickly, particularly in the summer. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D. You only need to expose your skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to begin to burn. How much vitamin D is produced from sunlight depends on the time of day, where you live in the world and the color of your skin. The more skin you expose the more vitamin D is produced.
You can also get vitamin D by taking supplements. This is a good way to get vitamin D if you can’t get enough sunlight, or if you’re worried about exposing your skin. Vitamin D3 is the best kind of supplement to take. It comes in a number of different forms, such as tablets and capsules, but it doesn’t matter what form you take, or what time of the day you take it.
Different organizations recommend different amounts of vitamin D supplement to take each day. The Vitamin D Council recommends taking larger amounts of vitamin D each day than other organizations, because smaller amounts aren’t enough to give you what your body needs. Most people can take vitamin D supplements with no problems. However, if you have certain health problems or take certain medicines, you may need to take extra care.
Your body gets most of the vitamins and minerals it needs from the foods that you eat. However, there are only a few foods that naturally contain any vitamin D. Most foods that contain vitamin D only have small amounts, so it’s almost impossible to get what your body needs just from food.
Because there are only small amounts of vitamin D in food there are only two sure ways to get enough vitamin D:
Exposing your bare skin to sunlight to get ultraviolet B (UVB).
Taking vitamin D supplements.
There are small amounts of vitamin D in a few foods, which makes it nearly impossible to get what you need from food. However, these foods include:
Fortified milk and orange juice
The Vitamin D Council believes that trying to get enough vitamin D from your diet is unlikely to give you the vitamin D you need.