Ever wonder what supports strong and healthy bones? Vitamin D plays a crucial role in helping your body absorb calcium, which is the primary component of bone. Vitamin D credits is also credited for regulating several other cellular functions in the body.
In addition, vitamin D has been shown to reduce cancer cell growth and control infections. Not only is vitamin D a hormone our bodies make, but it is also a nutrient we can obtain through food.
What are the best ways to absorb vitamin D? There are certain foods to focus on eating that contain adequate levels of Vitamin D. However, there are several other ways one can boost vitamin D levels:
1. Spend time outdoors. Many refer to vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin.” The sun is known as one of the best sources of vitamin D. But if you’re out in the sun, it’s important to protect against skin cancer. Dr. Schmidt says as little as 8-15 minutes of exposure can help boost vitamin D levels – while minimizing the risk of skin cancer.
2. Focus on fish. Several types of fish contain high levels of vitamin D. Nutritionists suggest eating salmon, tuna or sardines. Raw fish is known to have more vitamin D than cooked fish. Other foods like orange juice, eggs and mushrooms can also increase levels of vitamin D.
3. Vitamin D supplement. If you have low levels of vitamin D, a supplement could be the best way to improve your health. The Vitamin D Council advises maintaining serum levels of 50 ng/ml (equivalent to 125 nmol/L*), with the following reference ranges:
- Deficient: 0-40 ng/ml (0-100 nmol/l)
- Sufficient: 40-80 ng/ml (100-200 nmol/l)
- High Normal: 80-100 ng/ml (200-250 nmol/l)
- Undesirable: > 100 ng/ml (> 250 nmol/l)
- Toxic: > 150 ng/ml (> 375 nmol/l)
Can sufficient vitamin D levels help prevent serious illness from COVID-19?
Although information is still forthcoming, early study out of Israel show patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels prior to contracting COVID-19 were less likely to become seriously ill. The study found that about half of people who were vitamin D deficient before contracting COVID-19 developed severe illness. Scientists compared that to less than 10 percent of people who had sufficient levels of vitamin D.
Whether you’re trying to maintain strong bones or looking to boost your immune system, vitamin D provides many benefits. Now is the time to check your levels of vitamin D and speak with your physician about the best course of action – whether that’s spending more time outdoors, focusing on foods with vitamin D or taking a supplement. Hemphill County Health offers comprehensive health care services across Northwest Texas with providers committed to providing exceptional health care services.