How do I Increase Vitamin D Production?

April S. Kenyon

A variety of ways exist to increase vitamin D production. These include exposure to sunlight, taking vitamin D supplements, and consuming certain foods that are known to be rich in vitamin D. Many food items are also fortified with extra vitamin D in an effort to increase vitamin D production in individuals.

Exposure to sunlight increases vitamin D production.
Exposure to sunlight increases vitamin D production.

Natural sunlight is perhaps the best known source of vitamin D. Individuals can increase vitamin D production by spending as little as 10 to 15 minutes a day in the sunlight. It should be noted, however, that overexposure to the sun can be dangerous. Typically, it is advised that individuals wear sunscreen to prevent damage caused by the harmful effects of certain ultra violet (UV) rays if they intend to be in direct sunlight for more than approximately 15 minutes. Darker skinned individuals will not absorb the sun’s rays as quickly as lighter skinned people because of higher melanin levels.

Oyster mushrooms contain vitamin D.
Oyster mushrooms contain vitamin D.

For some, it will be difficult to acquire adequate amounts of sunlight each day. An individual’s recommended daily vitamin D production should not be attained through sunlight alone. Other sources of vitamin D include certain foods, supplements, and a variety of vitamin D fortified foods and beverages. Milk, orange juice, butter, margarine, some cereals, and yogurt are all examples of foods that are often fortified with vitamin D. Soy milk, rice milk, and tofu are also vitamin D enriched.

Soy milk is vitamin D enriched.
Soy milk is vitamin D enriched.

In order to help increase vitamin D production, it is suggested that individuals cook with vitamin D fortified foods. While many vitamins can be destroyed in the cooking process, vitamin D is generally stable enough to withstand high temperatures. Using vitamin D enriched milks, butters, and margarines in recipes will increase vitamin D production in the body.

Salmon contains vitamin D.
Salmon contains vitamin D.

Vitamin D supplements can also be taken to increase vitamin D production. These supplements can be found in both pill and liquid form. Cod liver oil is a traditional source of vitamin D. This liquid can be found in flavored form, and has been a popular method of maintaining health for years.

Sardines -- a type of small fish in the herring family -- are rich in calcium and other minerals, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Sardines -- a type of small fish in the herring family -- are rich in calcium and other minerals, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Certain foods naturally contain high levels of vitamin D. The highest levels of vitamin D are most often found in fatty fish. These include salmon, cod, halibut, catfish, and mackerel. Adding these types of fish to the diet will help to increase vitamin D production. Other foods containing higher levels of vitamin D include eggs, mushrooms, oysters, mollusks, and sardines.

According to experts, just 5 to 30 minutes of sunlight enables the body to generate a sufficient amount of vitamin D.
According to experts, just 5 to 30 minutes of sunlight enables the body to generate a sufficient amount of vitamin D.

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