Vitamin D has been in the news this week, as new research from the University of Colorado has found that low levels of vitamin D can interfere with bacteria-fighting molecules called hCAP-18 that help to stimulate immune cells. This means that if you’re deficient or low of vitamin D, your risk of catching colds and the flu raises by at least a third.
Who is most at risk of vitamin D deficiency?
What measures can you take to make sure that you are not low on vitamin D?
Go out in the sunlight
Sunlight spurs the body to make vitamin D, but because of the skin-cancer risk, there isn’t an official recommendation to catch some rays. As a rule 20 minutes of exposure is helpful, but this might be hard to achieve during the winter months and if you’re old or dark skinned.
If you feel you are not getting enough sunshine you can choose to supplement your diet with a vitamin D tablet. Vitamin D3 is the best kind of supplement to take. It comes in a number of different forms, such as tablets and capsules, but it doesn’t matter what form you take, or what time of the day you take it.
Fatty fish can be a good source of vitamin D. Common options include salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and eel. A 3-ounce salmon fillet contains about 450 (IUs) of vitamin D.
Vitamin D in an egg comes from its yolk, so it’s important to use the whole egg—not just the whites. One yolk will give you about 40 IUs, but don’t try to get your daily vitamin D just from eggs, as one egg contains about 200 milligrams of cholesterol.
Choose a low-calorie fortified cereal like Cheerios to get part of your daily fill of vitamin D. A 1-cup (29 gram) serving of Cheerios with one-half cup of fortified milk is 90 IUs.