Three Ways to Get More Vitamin D in Your Diet


If staying out of the sun or adopting a vegan diet is on your list of new year’s resolutions, you’re probably patting yourself on the back for committing to such healthy lifestyle choices. But, since both those habits may lower your level of Vitamin D intake, you may need to add taking a supplement to your “to-do” list.shutterstock_106905146

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining strong bones, as it works with the calcium you ingest from your diet. Dangerous levels of Vitamin D deficiency lead to soft bones and skeletal deformities, but even mild deficiencies have been associated with various cardiovascular and cognitive issues, and even cancer.

Although Vitamin D is produced naturally in the body in response to exposure to sunlight, and is found in a select number of foods, making sure you get enough can be tricky. The Institute of Medicine’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D is 600 international units (IU) for everyone under the age of 70, although many physicians feel that might be too low. However, getting too much could be toxic. How to find the happy medium? Focus on incorporating natural and fortified sources of Vitamin D into your diet and talk to your doctor about whether you need to take a supplement.

Here Comes the Sun

How many articles have you read about the dangers of unprotected sun exposure? Yet, our bodies need the sun to help produce Vitamin D on our own. Fortunately, you don’t have to slather yourself with tanning oil and lay out on your lawn to get enough sunlight to produce sufficient levels of D – at least not during the summer.

About 20-25 minutes of skin exposure to sunlight without sunscreen a couple times a week is typically enough to produce adequate levels of Vitamin D.  However, during the winter in most parts of the world, it can be difficult to get enough rays. Since we can’t recommend spending an extended amount of time in the sun because of skin cancer risks, make sure to include other sources of D, as well.

Go Fishing for D

 Adding fatty fish like salmon, herring and tuna to your diet is a great way to incorporate more Vitamin D. Three ounces of salmon provide about 450 IUs of Vitamin D, so depending on your appetite, you could get your entire daily dose in one meal!

Although fresh fish contains higher levels of Vitamin D, canned fish is also a good choice. Canned wild salmon and tuna last longer on your shelf and can provide up to 150 IUs.


Cereal and Milk: Breakfast of Vitamin D Champions

Fish can be an acquired taste, so if it’s not your preference, look for other dietary sources of Vitamin D.

Fortified cereals, milk and orange juice can knock off your Vitamin D RDA before lunchtime. Some cereals and oatmeals contain up to 100 IUs per 1 cup serving. And almost all cow’s milk in the United States is fortified with Vitamin D, providing about 100 IUs per 8-ounce glass.

No matter your lifestyle, there’s a way to incorporate adequate levels of Vitamin D. And, what to do if you’re a low carb, lactose-intolerant, fish-hating vampire?  Talk to your doctor about including a Vitamin D supplement in your diet.
Vitamin D helps keep your bones and teeth strong. Make a resolution to keep your smile healthy this year. With locations in Alexandria, VA and Washington DC, DC Smiles provides a holistic approach to dental care that incorporates total-body health and wellness. Learn more at