How’s your vitamin D level?

It’s probably not something you think about. You can’t really measure it without a blood test.

But about half of all adults in the United States are low on vitamin D.1 That’s even higher for the elderly, African Americans, Hispanics, and people who live in the northern half of the U.S., especially during the winter months.

Move Vitamin D to the front of the line

It’s no secret vitamin D is critical to your overall health. But with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases (an estimated 75 million worldwide), getting enough vitamin D just moved to the front of the line.

In a recent study, researchers found that you may be twice as likely to get COVID-19 if you’re vitamin D deficient, compared to people who aren’t.2

“Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system,” says lead researcher Dr. David Meltzer. “Vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections. Our statistical analysis suggests this may be true for the COVID-19 infection.”

8 Signs of a Vitamin D Deficiency

When was the last time you saw your doctor for a blood test, annual check-up, or biometric screening at work?

If you have blood test results on file, go back and take a closer look at your vitamin D levels. Or schedule an appointment to check your vitamin D levels. It’s the best way to find out if you’re deficient.

But there are common signs that can point to a vitamin D deficiency, such as:

    1. Getting sick frequently
    2. Feeling tired or fatigued, even when you’ve had adequate sleep
    3. Bone pain, back pain, and joint pain
    4. Feeling sad or depressed
    5. Wounds or sores that won’t heal
    6. Weak bones
    7. Hair loss
    8. Muscle aches and pains

6 Healthy Ways to Boost Vitamin D Levels
Want to lower your risk for developing getting COVID-19 and avoid getting hit with a cold or flu during the winter months? Boost your vitamin D levels. Here’s how:

1. Spend a little time in the sun

Direct exposure to sunlight boosts vitamin D levels. About 15 minutes is all it takes. When your skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, it makes vitamin D.

If you spend a lot of time indoors, or you don’t see the sun a lot during the winter months, some research suggests ultraviolet light therapy can help, too.

 

2. Eat more fish

Fish and seafood are highest in vitamin D, compared to most other foods.

For example, a serving of canned salmon contains about 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin D you need per day. A glass of milk, just 15 percent. Fish high in vitamin D include:

    • Tuna
    • Mackerel
    • Oysters
    • Shrimp
    • Sardines
    • Salmon

3. Add mushrooms to your diet

Eating more mushrooms can also help boost vitamin D levels. Certain varieties of mushrooms contain 300 percent of the recommended dietary intake of vitamin D.

Wild mushrooms tend contain higher levels of vitamin D. But even mushrooms from the produce section at the grocery store can help. Add more mushrooms to your diet in salad, soup, or sautéed in olive oil with other fresh vegetables.

4. Make eggs for breakfast

OK. It doesn’t have to be breakfast. But eggs, including the yolk, are a good source of vitamin D.

Pasture-raised or free range chickens produce eggs highest in vitamin D. And if they’re fed vitamin-D enriched chicken feed, one egg may contain enough vitamin D for a day.

5. Eat vitamin-D fortified foods

Did you know common foods can be fortified with added vitamins and nutrients during production?

Check the food label for vitamin D, and see how a serving measures up to the recommended daily intake for vitamin D.

Some foods fortified with vitamin D include:

  • Milk and alternative dairy products like soy, almond, and hemp milk
  • Orange juice
  • Cereals
  • Some types of yogurt
  • tofu

6. Take a vitamin D supplement

Besides sun exposure, light therapy, or changes to your diet, you can also boost vitamin D levels by taking a supplement.

Research suggests vitamin D3 is the best option to help you boost and absorb vitamin D from a supplement.

For most adults, the daily recommended dosage is 1,000 to 4,000 IU (international units), of vitamin D. But you may need more than that depending on your age, race, health, and other factors.

Boot your mood and your health with vitamin D

You need vitamin D for a healthy immune system that can help protect you from COVID-19 and other bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. Vitamin D also helps boost your mood, improves muscle function and mobility, and supports your overall health.

You can boost your vitamin D level with sun exposure, light therapy, better food choices, or by taking a vitamin D supplement. If you think you’re vitamin D deficient, check with your doctor to find out.

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