Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in India, despite abundant sunshine for various reasons, people are not getting enough of it. Micronutrient deficiencies tend to exist where the diet lacks the diversity of real foods. For instance, insufficient intake of animal foods and excess of refined foods lead to insufficient levels of vitamin D3.
The primary role of vitamin D is to help absorb calcium and phosphorus coming from dietary sources, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones. Insufficient levels at any age leads to a high risk of developing weak and brittle bones. Also, deficiency may further be linked to autoimmune issues and the risk of developing infections.
Sources of Vitamin D
We can naturally synthesise vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, exposing your face, arms, legs or back for 5-30 minutes twice a week, but without wearing a sunblock should be sufficient to produce enough vitamin D.
Mushrooms growing under ultraviolet light may contain significant amounts of vitamin D, in the form of Vitamin D-2 (ergogenic), which may not be bioavailable as vitamin D-3, but can still raise vitamin D levels.
Many breakfast cereal options like wheat flakes, muesli, and oatmeal are fortified with vitamin D, and the amount usually found is 8-100 IU per serving.
Fortified Orange Juice
Certain orange juices that are fortified may contain up to 100 IU per serving.
Depending upon the country you live in, the milk fortification may differ. But an average glass of milk may contain around 120 IU (3 mcg) of vitamin D.
Other plant-based milk like almond milk and rice milk usually contains 96 IU per serving of vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 Supplements
Vitamin D supplements vary in their composition, but ones that offer 2000 IU of cholecalciferol can be taken daily, although dosage depends upon the serum vitamin D levels.
Lastly, it is important to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D levels for better health and particularly vegetarians need to consume sufficient sources of vitamin D along with supplements.