Vitamin D: Let the Sunshine In

Let’s be honest—everyone thinks they are a doctor these days. With so much floating around about what to do and what not to do, it would be nice to have something simple to count on. Something as steady as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Lucky for us, the sun might be right where it’s at—or at least the sunshine vitamin. 

Vitamin D has lots of benefits—from potentially lessening the effects of acute respiratory illnesses to boosting mood in the fall and winter months to decreasing heart-disease markers. We’re fans, but what are the best ways to increase your vitamin D levels?

Well, as the name suggests, sunshine. Vitamin D is synthesized naturally when we spend time outside. If you’re an office dweller, sunscreen devotee, or say, in quarantine, and aren’t spending much time outdoors, there are other ways to get this essential vitamin.

As Hippocrates is quoted, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” According to the National Institute of Health, fatty fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines are your best bet. Not into fish? Egg yolks are another good source and don’t forget the vitamin D fortified milk, whether cow’s milk or alternatives such as soy, almond, or oat. Mushrooms are another surprising source. The salmon bowl at The Russell on Main is looking positively virtuous right now.

If you want to take your vitamins with your morning coffee instead of your evening glass of red, there are supplements available. According to the folks at a local health store, Spirit of Health, their favorites are the Healthy Origins Vitamin D3 5000 IU softgels ($9.74, available at spiritofhealth.com). Softgels help the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamin more efficiently and one dose serves up 1,250 percent of your daily amount needed.

So take the sun, have some fish, or pop a pill, but don’t skimp on the sunshine vitamin!