Though the sources of vitamin D are very limited, there is one major, free-for-all source i.e. the sun. ‘Exposure to sunlight helps synthesise the vitamin effectively. Get 15 to 30 minutes of sunlight every day, early in the morning without applying sunscreen,’ advises Poonam. Here are some dietary sources of vitamin D:
- Eggs and oily fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel
- It is also present in fortified milk and other dairy products
- Cod liver oil is another source
- Fortified cereals and soy products
‘Low levels of vitamin D in our bodies can lead to several health problems including diabetes, high BP, bone weakness, obesity and nerve-related disorders. The ideal dose of vitamin D ranges between 1,000 and 2,000 IU (International Units) per day,’ says Dr BR Das.
These days, many people have low levels of vitamin D in their body. This means, they need to fulfil the deficiency with the help of supplements. But before popping any pill, one should get their vitamin D levels checked and consult their doctor as to which supplement is best-suited for them. People falling under the following categories are more prone to having a vitamin D deficiency.
- Pregnant and lactating mothers
- Menopausal women
- Ageing individuals
A word of caution when taking supplements, ‘Consuming too many supplements over a long period of time can cause more calcium to be absorbed than that can be excreted leading to excessive calcium deposition in the kidneys which can damage them in the long run. Therefore, it is essential to get the dosage right from a doctor,’ warns Poonam.
If you are wary of taking supplements, start by getting 15 minutes of sunlight daily and eating foods rich in vitamin D to increase your levels. Remember, ignoring your health now will only lead to bigger problems later in life.
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