Vitamin D deficiency: What foods are high in Vit D? How to get Vit D without going outside

Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. Both of these nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. The body creates it naturally when direct sunlight hits the skin when outdoors. It is also found in a small number of foods. We all know how important the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is, but between 60 and 90 percent of us are deficient. explains why you need vitamin D during the pandemic and how to get it while stuck indoors.

Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.

These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

A lack of vitamin D can also lead to bone deformities like rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.

But does vitamin D play a role in controlling the severity of coronavirus? Read on to find out.

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Does Vitamin D prevent coronavirus?

Brits won’t be getting enough vitamin D during lockdown, but the vitamin could reduce the risk of coronavirus.

The NHS site says: “You may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight if you’re indoors most of the day.

“There have been some news reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus. However, there is no evidence that this is the case.”

Between late March and September, most people should be able to get an adequate amount of vitamin D from sunlight alone.

However, due to the current circumstances, this may not be the case.

Mimi Dickson DipNt, Nutrition Associate at personalised vitamin service commented: “Due to lockdown, most of us will be getting much less sunlight than we usually would, which can have a detrimental effect on our general wellbeing.

“Your body needs vitamin D to modulate immune cells and regulate their response to infection, preventing excessive inflammation.”

While there is no conclusive evidence to prove that vitamin D reduces the risk of coronavirus, numerous studies have shown a link between low circulating levels of vitamin D (<30 ng/ml) – a vitamin D deficiency – and an increased susceptibility to infections.

Ms Dickinson added: “Several studies have also looked specifically at low vitamin D levels and severity of acute respiratory infections (including influenza and coronaviruses) and found that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome; and that case-fatality rates increase with age and with chronic disease comorbidity, both of which are associated with lower 25(OH)D concentration.

“Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with autoimmune diseases and increased infection rates and – as direct sunlight exposure is the main source of the nutrient – it’s thought 60 to 90 percent of the general public are deficient.

“This percentage could well be higher during lockdown, as many are self-isolating and not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden or outside space.”

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How to get Vitamin D without going outside?

The NHS advice is to take Vitamin D supplements every day while coronavirus remains a threat (and in winter months when the sun is not strong enough).

The site explains: “Consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy.”

It followed up to advise readers not to buy more vitamin D than this.

Ms Dickinson also suggested taking a vitamin D supplement every day. She said: “Taking a daily vitamin D supplement is a great way to ensure you are still getting enough of the nutrient despite the lack of sunlight hitting your skin, but it’s important to note that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which means it’s best absorbed when consumed with fats.

“That is why our high-strength, vegan-friendly vitamin D is formulated with sunflower oil to maximise absorption.”

Try Vitl’s eco-friendly vitamin D tin, available on for £5.95.

What foods are high in Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is found in a small selection of foods, including:
• oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
• red meat
• liver
• egg yolks
• fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals

If you are vegetarian, swiss cheese is a great source of vitamin D, and so are low-fat milk, and yoghurt (if fortified with vitamin D)

This leaves few options for vegans. Vegan foods rich in Vitamin D include:

  • Maitake mushrooms
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Soy milk (original, fortified with vitamin D)
  • Almond milk (original, fortified with vitamin D)
  • Chanterelle mushrooms (raw)
  • Orange juice (fortified with vitamin D)
  • Soy yoghurt (fortified with vitamin D)
  • Ready-to-eat cereal (fortified with vitamin D)

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