Here in the Northeast, many (if not most) of us are vitamin D deficient. Unfortunately, we spend most of our days indoors (especially during the Winter months!) at the office, in our homes, our cars, etc. Or, when we are outside on a bright sun-shineny day we lather up with sunblock, enabling ourselves to absorb the benefits of the sun's delicious rays with this precious vitamin!
There are loads of reasons to step out into the suns beautiful rays and stock up on foods containing vitamin D. Usually the best way to protect yourself from any deficiency is to build your health from the bottom up and let your body balance itself. I always encourage starting with sunshine first, then nutrition. Here are a few recommendations to prevent vitamin D deficiency:
Check your levels.
Schedule a blood test then review the results of your vitamin D levels with your doctor. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to many different problems, so it's something that you want to target and start working towards improving if your levels are low. Keep in mind, if your doctor is testing your D levels while you are in for a sick visit, your D will naturally be lower than usual. When you get your blood test, be sure you're in good health to receive an accurate level.
Let the sun shine on you!
Allow yourself limited, unprotected sun exposure in the early morning and late afternoon (no more than 15 minutes for light-skinned individuals, 40 minutes for darker skin).
Eat a diet rich in whole foods.
Dried shitake and button mushrooms are surprisingly high in vitamin D. Be sure to find mushrooms that have been dried in the sun in order to extract the benefits. Cod liver oil is super-rich in sunlight vitamin D, as well as rich in omega-3 fatty acids. If you can stomach its aroma and terrible taste, check out taking capsules of it instead. I swear by Green Pasture's fermented cod liver oil! Nutrient-dense, fatty fish like mackerel and sardines are good sources of vitamin D. Eggs are a good source of vitamin D. Fortified organic milk and other dairy products, and some organ meats (like liver) are also reasonably good natural sources of D. Please be sure your meat/eggs and dairy are organic and grass fed. If the animals had the ability to graze out in the sun, they were absorbing sunlight and all of its vitamin D!
Take a supplement, for peace of mind.
Take a vitamin D3 supplement to be safe. Nowadays vitamin D3 supplements are widely recognized as the superior, more bio-ready form for use in the body. How much you need really depends on your particular needs, so testing is really the best way to go for most people. If you are in need of a good supplement, feel free to contact me because I sell Metagenics, high quality nutraceuticals. I love their vitamin D3 5k.
Your health is a work in progress that needs your consistent attention and support. I encourage you to investigate your personal vitamin D level with your medical practitioner as part of a comprehensive approach to your whole health.