Dietary Sources of Vitamin D
Supplements are important because vitamin D is generally rather scarce in nature, but there are ways to get more into your diet so you can improve your bone health the natural way, too:
- Salmon (511 iu in a 4 ounce serving)
- Sardines (175 iu in a 3.2 ounce serving)
- Tuna (93 iu in a 4 ounce serving)
- Milk (62 iu in a 4 ounce serving)
- Eggs (43 iu in one egg)
- Mushrooms (20 iu in a half cup serving)
If you’re not able to squeeze lots of fish and dairy into your daily menu, look for foods and beverages that have been fortified with vitamin D. Orange juice and yogurt are the most common examples, though more cereals are being fortified with vitamin D these days, too.
Using Sunshine to Your Advantage
When it comes to vitamin D, the sun is your closest ally. During sun exposure, your skin takes in the ultraviolet light and converts it to vitamin D, storing it for later use. Different bodies use the sunlight differently, and your particular ability to produce vitamin D will depend on factors like your skin pigmentation, where you live, and the time of the season.
For many people, just 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight is enough to replenish their vitamin D stores. However, the problem is that skin cancer prevention measures interfere with ultraviolet light absorption: clothing will block UVB rays from reaching your body, and an SPF factor as low as 8 will reduce your skin’s vitamin D production by up to 95%.
A few minutes of unprotected sun exposure can give your skin the ingredients it needs to make vitamin D, but you likely can’t rely on sunshine alone. Talk to your doctor about supplementing with a vitamin D pill, or a natural compound like cod liver oil. Ultimately, the more varied your approach, the more likely you’ll see a significant improvement in your strength, stability, and bone density for years to come.