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How to increase vitamin D levels while isolating indoors

Monday, March 23rd 2020, 3:53 pm - With social distancing, we are not getting outside as much and as a result, we will not naturally make as much vitamin D. Here's what you can do.

As social distancing becomes the norm across Canada many will be stuck inside this spring. With less time in the sun our ability to naturally make vitamin D declines.

However, there are many great ways to include the sunshine vitamin in your diet!

“Fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are great sources of vitamin D,” explains nutritionist Diane Murphy.

She also added butter, eggs and mushrooms to the list.

In the grocery store, you will find products that have vitamin D added to them, like orange juice, some cereals, soy milk and dairy products. Consuming these products can all contribute to increasing vitamin D levels which in turn can boost your mood and create stronger bones.

UGC: Vitamin D, courtesy Charlene Newland Courtesy: Charlene Newland, submitted

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However, many experts agree that these foods alone may not get you the levels you need and a “D Drop” is the better option.

“When buying a vitamin D drop- you should look for the concentration of vitamin D in each drop, expressed as “international units” or short-form IU. People need about 600-800 IU on a daily basis. With a max of 4000 IU per day,” explains pharmacist Victor Wong.

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According to Harvard Health, about 5 ounces of salmon is about 400 IU, two 8-ounce cans of tuna is just over 400 IU, and an egg yolk is about 20 IU. It is possible to eat enough however, the drop is just more convenient.

If you can get outdoors, Canadians will start to make sufficient vitamin D starting in May. The UVB ray is what triggers our body to make the “sunshine vitamin”. Unfortunately, windows will block this ray, so getting sunlight through the window will not trigger your body to produce the vitamin.

A general rule of thumb is if your shadow is equal or shorter than your height then your body will naturally begin making vitamin D. The suggested time is midday and all you need is about 15-30 minutes in the sun.

Your skin tone can affect how much vitamin D your body will make - some need longer in the sun in order to make an efficient amount.

Also, sunblock can inhibit your ability to naturally make vitamin D.

Signs of low vitamin D include:

  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Becoming sick or infected often
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain

Coronavirus coverage - Friday March 27 Tune into The Weather Network on Friday, March 27, as our expert panel discusses how weather can potentially impact the spread of COVID-19.

Thumbnail courtesy: Ella Olsson/PEXELS

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