Best Ways To Soak Up Vitamin D While At Home

Artist's rendition of a heart-shaped sun above a seascape.
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Health

Repeated lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic have taken a toll on our lifestyle in more ways than one. One drawback of being forced to stay indoors has been spending little time in the sun. Since sunlight is the main source of vitamin D, not getting enough sunshine -- whether we can help it or not -- puts us at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Here's what you can do to make sure you get enough vitamin D while at home.

Why Is Vitamin D Important?

Woman soaking up some sun through an open window.
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Unlike most vitamins, which are absorbed through diet, vitamin D is produced by the body as a result of direct sunlight exposure on the skin. While there are some foods and supplements that can help, the best source of vitamin D remains soaking up some sunshine, hence its "sunshine vitamin" moniker.

As such, not spending enough time outdoors can have a long-term adverse effect on the mind and body alike, depriving you of this essential vitamin.

According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin D is crucial for bone health.

"That's because your body can only absorb calcium, the primary component of bone, when vitamin D is present. "

What Vitamin D Deficiency Does To Your Body

Young woman exhibiting fatigue.
Unsplash | Zohre Nemati

Vitamin D does more than just build and maintain healthy bones. It is, in fact, responsible for many other cellular functions in your body. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it strengthens your muscles, boosts the immune system, and improves brain cell activity. It also regulates insulin levels in the body and supports diabetes management, per Medical News Today.

While vitamin D deficiency may be difficult to diagnose because of its subtle symptoms that can easily escape notice, it typically manifests as fatigue and tiredness, among other things.

Another sign you might be vitamin D-deficient is getting sick often and being vulnerable to infections. Other signs include bone and back pain, muscle pain, low mood and depression, hair loss, bone loss, and impaired wound healing, according to Healthline.

How To Soak Up Vitamin D When Homebound

Woman stretching in bed in front of a sunlit window.
Shutterstock | 178456

Given all the important benefits that vitamin D has both for the body and mind, experts advise that we soak up those sun rays even when we can't leave the house. One easy fix is to spend at least 20 minutes in front of an open window or out on a balcony, taking in some fresh air and basking in the sunshine. Make sure to wear light summer clothing that leaves your forearms uncovered so that enough sunlight can penetrate the skin. Another thing you should do is maximize your vitamin D absorption through diet.

Best Food Sources Of Vitamin D

Foods rich in vitamin D.
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While few foods naturally contain vitamin D, there are quite a few options to choose from, especially considering many foods are fortified with added vitamin D to boost intake.

One of the main things you should eat plenty of is fish.

"The flesh of fatty fish (such as trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best sources," state the National Institutes of Health. "Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks have small amounts of vitamin D, primarily in the form of vitamin D3," which is one of the two main forms it exists in food, along with vitamin D2, while "mushrooms provide variable amounts."

Another safe bet is to go for fortified foods, such as orange juice, cereal, soy milk, and some dairy products with added vitamin D.