Imogen is from West Dorset, UK. Her favourite subjects are the environment, gardening, and vegetarian food.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can be the result of a poor diet, and also not getting enough sunshine. If you live in a cold climate, work nightshifts, have dark skin, or simply don't get out into the sunshine enough you are at risk of being deficient.
Vitamin D works with calcium and phosphorous in your body to produce strong healthy bones. Deficiency is known to cause rickets in children, and brittle bones or osteoporosis in adults, so it is essential that you get it checked out if you think you are at risk, or have symptoms such as fatigue, aching bones and muscles, or depression. Obviously these symptoms can be caused by a number of complaints, so correct diagnosis by a medical professional is important, to ensure you get the correct treatment.
There are some reports that vitamin D may also help your immunity to Coronavirus (and other viruses) and this is currently being investigated. Unfortunately the lockdown status in a lot of countries has resulted in many people not being able to get out enough to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine that is so necessary for good health.
Deficiency can be diagnosed with a simple blood test from your doctor, and doctors will often recommend a supplement in the form of capsules or drops to be taken orally. To help yourself you can also boost your vitamin D intake by getting out in the sunshine more - at least half an hour a day with some skin exposed should make a difference - and also by eating vitamin-D rich foods. The recommended daily intake is 400-800 IU/day, or 10-20 micrograms, for adults and children over 1 year, although some studies recommend higher levels in some cases.
Below you will find some of the best foods to help you boost your vitamin D levels.
Eggs contains all sorts of essential proteins, vitamins and minerals, not least a good helping of vitamin D.
Statistics online seem to vary a great deal, but it seems that one egg contains anything from 1-3 micrograms of vitamin D. The variation results from the conditions that the hens are raised in - naturally, free range hens that are allowed to roam outdoors and get a mixed diet produce eggs that are up to three times richer in vitamin D, so always go for the best free-range eggs you can buy.
The vitamin D is contained in the yolk (along with most of the other good things), so make sure you eat all of the yellow bit!
Oily fish are well known for being high in vitamin D, as well as essential omega oils. Wild salmon (higher levels than farmed salmon), mackerel, sardines and tuna are all good sources.
Cod liver oil is also a good supplement to take, and has for a long time been given to children at risk of rickets.
Mushrooms are the only plant-based source of vitamin D, but you have to be careful here, as the levels vary considerably.
Only wild mushrooms or those grown under UV lights contain a significant source of vitamin D, and then it is generally only D2. They don't contain vitamin D3, so if you are a vegan you may need to get a supplement for this.
Fortified cereals and spreads
You'll have to check the ingredients on the packets for these as there are all sorts of ready-made foods that have been fortified with all sorts of vitamins and minerals.
Breakfast cereals are the most commonly fortified foods, while some margarines, milk and soya products are also fortified to varying degrees in different countries. These can be of some value.
Sources for reference and further information
General advice and UK-specific recommendations
general health advice
UK egg producer - with added vitamin D
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Imogen French
Manuela from Portugal on June 24, 2020:
Vitamin D is so important and a lot of people aren't aware of its importance. Thank you for this article.
Lisha C on June 24, 2020:
I recently found out that I have a Vitamin D deficiency and have been prescribed a supplement capsule, which I am currently taking. However, it certainly would be better to get this naturally from sunlight and the foods which you have mentioned. Thanks for sharing this article, I found it quite helpful.
foodlocate on June 23, 2020:
Really good article!
Eggs contain many different proteins, mainly ovalbumin. The yolk contains 21 vitamins and about 40% of the egg. It also contains 6.29 g of protein, 27 mg of calcium, 6 mg of magnesium, 96 mg of phosphorus, 67 mg of potassium, and 4.97 g of fat. For more information about it you can visit https://foodlocate.com/blog/myths-and-truths-about...
Imogen French (author) from Southwest England on June 22, 2020:
Thanks for reading and commenting Linda C. It can't do any harm :-)
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 21, 2020:
I read the news about a link between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 severity, too. Thanks for sharing the nutrition tips. I'm trying to ensure that I get enough of the vitamin on a daily basis.