There’s good reason why vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin.”
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.
Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health (2).
For example, it instructs the cells in your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus — two minerals that are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones (3).
On the other hand, low vitamin D levels have been linked to serious health consequences, including:
- Osteoporosis, Cancer, Depression, Muscle weakness and death.
You see , only a handful of foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D.
These include cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, canned tuna, beef liver, egg yolks and sardines. That said, you would need to eat them nearly every day to get enough vitamin D.
If you do not get enough sunlight, it’s often recommended to take a supplement like cod liver oil. One tablespoon (14 grams) of cod liver oil contains more than three times the recommended daily amount of vitamin D (4).
It’s important to note that the sun’s UVB rays cannot penetrate through windows. So people who work next to sunny windows are still prone to vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is made in the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight. Sun exposure is by far the best way to boost vitamin D levels, particularly because very few foods contain significant amounts.