let the sun shine

Thing To Know Now: How To Get Enough Vitamin D

Book a tropical vacation, for starters. (And, fine, a few other tips on how to get enough vitamin D.)

It is February 1, which means many of us are in the midst of a long stretch of short days. Snow storms. Grey skies. And even if you love all these things, or if you are someone who just always avoids the sun, there is a good chance you are vitamin D deficient.

So what happens when you are vitamin D deficient? Well, given that vitamin D is one of the nutrients responsible for keeping your bones strong and your body healthy, a lot of things: You may experience muscle or bone weakness, or be at an increased risk for heart disease or asthma. Your immune system may be impaired, or your body’s ability to absorb insulin may be restricted. Needless to say, vitamin D deficiency is not a good thing. Here’s how to make sure you get enough.

Go skinny dipping. Well, first, book a trip somewhere warm and sunny (unless you live in the South—or the Southern Hemisphere—in which case, lucky you), and then go skinny dipping. The more your skin comes in contact with sunlight, the more vitamin D it will produce. So next time you hit that pool/ ocean/ lake/ river/ what have you, think about leaving your bathing suit at home. We’re serious.

…No? Ok. Try to simply go outside, then, for at least ten minutes every day. While the winter sun still won’t generate enough vitamin D to meet your daily requirements, it is a start—and that fresh air sure is invigorating.

Take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D supplements are an easy way to get enough of this nutrient every day. It’s important to remember, however, that vitamin D becomes toxic at high levels, so first discuss the appropriate amount to take with your doctor.

Make use of ultraviolet lamps. The rays emitted by ultraviolet bulbs produce a similar effect on the body as sunlight. (The bright light may take some getting used to, but once you feel the effects, you won’t care.) This also means, however (and unfortunately), that said UV lamps can pose a risk for skin cancer as well, so chat with your doctor before using.

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Eat the right foods. Like: egg yolks, fatty fish, canned tuna fish, certain types of mushrooms, fortified cereals, fortified milk, beef liver, some kinds of orange juice and cod liver oil.

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