I Was Vitamin D Deficient. Here’s What I Learned.

By Alexis Wolfer

Vitamin D (AKA “the sunshine vitamin”) isn’t just about the rays. Well, at least not in our SPF-obsessed (for good reason!) culture…

Turns out, I was Vitamin D deficient (ask your doc to check your Vitamin D levels next time he or she does your blood work) – and I live in sunny California where I (I can’t believe I’m about to admit this here) spend a whole lotta time outside… and (yup, I’m gonna say it) am not always stellar when it comes to my sunscreen protection…

(As a caveat to that admission – or just in defense of it – if I’m knowingly going to be hanging in the sun, I’m as anal as they come. Find me shade, bring me a hat, and paint me up with Colorescience Mineral SPF 50, which, in case you’re unfamiliar, is THE BEST DAMN SUNSCREEN ON THE MARKET.)

So, if I’m Vitamin D deficient, well, all of you daily SPF-devotees (you go girl!) who live in less sunny climates, well, there’s a good chance you’re f’ed.

Kidding.

Well, maybe. Turns out, it depends on your diet… (I’m guessing you were wondering why this was a “food” post, eh?!) and, well, a slew of other factors. Like did you know that pollution interferes with your ability to absorb vitamin D? (It’s probably why I’m deficient in this smog-filled town we call LA.) Or that as you get older you absorb less from sunshine?

So, Why Do You Need Vitamin D Anyway?

I had no idea either… but it turns out that we need Vitamin D in order to absorb calcium (hi, strong bones and teeth!) and it’s a killer immune booster (my words, not my doc’s).

So what’s a Vitamin D deficient gal to do?

Well, 3 things:

1.  If You’re Not Already, Get Some Sunshine

Just 15 minutes of non-SPF protected sun exposure to 25% of your body is more than enough for most people, in most climates, to get their daily dose of Vitamin D.

2.  Eat Foods High In Vitamin D

As with everything – your diet is a big factor! So what foods are high in vitamin D?

  • Fatty fish (smoked salmon, swordfish, and canned trout top the list; but tuna and salmon are great too)
  • Fortified cereals (heck, they spray vitamins on cereal for good reason!)
  • Soy milk (it’s also fortified #winning)
  • Beef liver (good luck with that)
  • Cheese (you’re welcome)
  • Egg yolks (more reasons to eat egg yolks here!)

3.  Take A Vitamin D Supplement

Since beef liver is off of my to-eat list and, well, so are cereals and cheeses for the most part. And considering that my soy milk consumption is minimal (probably because of my aforementioned cereal avoidance, which I’ll blame on my teenage years during which cereal was my primary food group) and neither eggs nor fish are consistent staples in my diet, my doctor recommended a Vitamin D3 supplement.

No, that 3 isn’t a typo. It’s the same type that your body makes via sun exposure. So, according to my doc anyway, it’s the best.

Here’s the one I’m taking, once a day, with food. Pretty easy. (It’s vegetarian, diary-free, gluten-free, and packed with probiotics too!)

Anywho… if you are so inclined, ask your doctor to test your Vitamin D levels next time you’re getting blood work done and recheck it every 3 months if you start taking supplements.

I’m glad I did (for the healthy bones/teeth/immune system, of course!).

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