How To Increase Vitamin D Levels Quickly? 5 Proven Tips
Vitamins are an essential component for the body to function properly. While the amount of required vitamins is small, we cannot ignore its significance. We usually receive almost all the required vitamins from our food.
But the catch here is we might not be receiving enough levels of Vitamin D from food sources. For instance, a young adult should receive 16 micrograms of Vitamin D daily. But, it is impossible to fulfill this amount of vitamin D intake without taking supplements, leading to Vitamin D deficiency.
You would be shocked to learn that approximately 1 billion people globally suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, and 40% of American residents are deficient.
Another notion that revolves around this vitamin is that you can receive enough Vitamin D from the sunlight. But, the process is not that simple. I will be untangling this notion later in this blog.
Moving to a much more pressing topic - how a person's occupation plays a role in Vitamin D deficiency. According to researchers, 78% of indoor workers and 80% of shift workers have low levels of Vitamin D.
Concerning this, I have crafted a blog covering some facts about Vitamin D, its deficiency, and how to increase its levels quickly.
Always consult a health professional before trying any natural remedy to increase your Vitamin D levels
A Bit About Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a micronutrient that helps keep bones strong and healthy. But it does offer other health benefits too. We will dive into that section shortly. Before that, let's get more familiar with Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is also known as Calciferol. It is a fat soluble vitamin, which is found in some specific food items. Vitamin D mainly occurs in two forms- D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both these forms are also collectively known as Vitamin D.
Vitamin D2 is naturally found in plants (mushrooms), and Vitamin D3 in animal-based foods. Also, Vitamin D3 is also formed naturally in the human body.
Vitamin D3 also forms naturally in the human skin with the help of a component we dread, UVB rays.
Yes, these are the same UVB rays that cause sunburn. But, apparently, these have benefits for us as well. This is why it's essential- When the sunlight comes in contact with human skin, the UVB rays initiate Vitamin D3 production in the epidermis.
Why Do You Need Vitamin D?
This particular form of vitamin helps with phosphorus and calcium absorption in the body. But, when you have fewer levels of Vitamin D, the body will be unable to absorb calcium or phosphorus. This is problematic, as calcium and phosphorus are required to maintain and build strong bones.
Further, Vitamin D is necessary to keep the body's tissues in good condition. It is also important for the muscles to maintain mobility. Moreover, it plays an integral role in strengthening the immune system.
Suggested reading: 5 Ways to Promote National Immunization Awareness Month at Work
Vitamin D Deficiency Amongst Working Individuals
Working to pay the bills is an inseparable part of living one's life. And so, we humans break our sweat to earn big to survive in this chaotic world. Amidst all the rush, we seldom pay attention to our well-being.
Although, slowly, things are changing. People are getting health conscious. Hitting the gym is becoming the new normal. Trying a new diet, trying a new lifestyle is totally in. Overall, we are trying to choose a healthier lifestyle.
But, then again, we may miss a few things, like our vitamin and mineral intake. We all count calories and carbs, but what about the vitamins and minerals?
As a result, we all suffer from some kind of deficiency. Busy working individuals like you and I have little to no time to consider whether we are eating enough vitamins and minerals. This is one of the reasons why Vitamin D deficiency is very common among working individuals, especially indoor workers.
Moreover, with the rise in global warming, the increased heat has pushed everyone to avoid the sun at all costs.
Your body does not produce Vitamin D3 if you receive sunlight while sitting against a closed window. This is because most commercial glasses block the penetration of UVB rays. However, UVA rays can easily pass through such glasses.
Desirable Vitamin D Levels
According to a National Library of Medicine research paper, Vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/ml are considered a deficiency. And for the average person, it is necessary to have atleast 30 ng/ml of Vitamin D in the blood to enjoy its multiple health benefits.
How Much Vitamin D Should You Consume?
So far, there is no standardized range of how much Vitamin D the average adult should consume. But according to the Office of Dietary Supplements:
- The average adult should consume 10 to 15 micrograms per day.
- Older adults above the age of 70 should consume 20 micrograms per day.
- Pregnant women should consume 15 micrograms per day.
Individuals with lower levels of this vitamin may need to increase their supplement intake. Studies suggest that supplements may take from 24 hours upto 6 months to increase the blood's Vitamin D levels.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Many people live throughout their lives with some sort of vitamin deficiency. Subsequently, such people may suffer from various health issues. Similarly, a person who has a deficit of Vitamin D may display the following symptoms:
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling tired without any reason
- Pain in the bone
- Unusual mood changes leading to depression
- Cardiac issues
- Osteomalacia, osteoporosis
Vitamin D deficiency may also be due to certain medications, underlying medical conditions, and weight loss surgery.
How To Increase Vitamin D Levels Quickly?
If you have been diagnosed with low levels of Vitamin D, the foremost thing you should do is consult an orthopedic specialist. A health professional will be the best person to guide you on how to increase Vitamin D levels quickly.
But, to give a gist on how to boost your Vitamin D levels naturally, here are some handy tips:
1. Get some sunlight.
Sunlight is the best way to increase your Vitamin D levels naturally. Due to this reason, Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as "Sunshine Vitamin."
To get the best out of it, you should spend atleast 15 to 20 minutes under the sun. Make sure the sunlight touches your skin for the designated amount of time. Applying sunscreen is not required for this amount of time.
If you have a darker skin tone, staying a bit longer than 20 minutes is advisable. People with dark skin have high levels of melanin, which proactively diverts most UVB rays away.
As a result, the body does not get the primary ingredient to initiate D3 production. For such a case, exposure to the sun for an extended period is known to help derive some amount of vitamin D.
If you plan to expose yourself to sunlight for a longer period, it is advisable to wear sunscreen of atleast 30 SPF.
2. Change your diet.
In addition to making most of the sunshine vitamin, it is necessary to change your eating habit. Start by including foods rich in vitamin D. Here is a list of food items that you should start eating in every meal:
- Egg yolks
- Mushrooms (only vegan option to increase Vitamin D levels)
- Sea fish like tuna, sardines, salmon, anchovies, shrimp
- Beef liver
3. Take a Vitamin D supplement.
Food sources have a minimal amount of Vitamin D. It is impossible to fulfill your daily quota of Vitamin D just by eating the above food items. Health experts recommend that anyone above the age of 9 can take Vitamin D supplements.
However, the dosage is different according to the age group. To be safe, consult your doctor if you want to start taking supplements.
Doctors advise against taking Vitamin D supplements of more than 4000 UI or 100 micrograms per day under normal circumstances. It may lead to Vitamin D toxicity.
4. Have fortified foods.
Vitamin D is popular for being naturally scarce in food sources. This is why the food industry has stepped up and introduced Vitamin D fortified foods. Here are some commonly found fortified foods:
- Orange juice
- Cow milk
- Selected yogurts
5. Check your caffeine intake.
The caffeine kick you get on taking the first sip of coffee, or tea is out of the world. But drinking too much coffee or tea has its downside. One of them is it reduces the body's ability to produce and use Vitamin D as required.
Suggested reading: Coffee at Work: Health, Happiness and Workplace Performance
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in today's day and age. If you have been recently diagnosed with low levels of this vitamin and have been wondering how to increase Vitamin D levels quickly, I hope this article will greatly help.
Last but not least, always consult your doctor before consuming any Vitamin D supplement or trying any of the above tips. Your dosage requirement may differ from the usual based on your age, deficiency level, and any other condition. Take care.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does it take to increase Vitamin D levels?
There is no stipulated duration for how long it takes to increase Vitamin D levels. However, sources suggest increasing Vitamin D levels takes 24 hours to 6 months.
2. Is Vitamin D deficiency dangerous?
Higher levels of Vitamin D deficiency may be dangerous as it may cause the bones to become fragile.
3. What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include muscle weakness, osteoporosis, mood swings, bone pain, and poor heart health.
4. Can I overdose on vitamin D?
Yes, although rare, you can overdose on Vitamin D, leading to toxicity. Its symptoms include vomiting, stomach ache, nausea, and dizziness. Such a case can only arise if you take extremely high doses of Vitamin D supplements.
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