How Can I Get Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D and a Salmon RecipeVitamin D is critical for good health but too many people simply don’t get enough of the “sunshine vitamin.”

It’s not easy to get most of the year, and it’s not in too many foods.

Are supplements the answer?

Here’s the lowdown on this critical, all-too-often deficient vitamin. And three ways you can get enough of it.

How Can I Get Enough Vitamin D?

When we think of “vitamins,” we know they’re super-important for health.

But vitamin D is special.

It’s difficult to get enough making it a very common deficiency.

So, let’s talk about how much of this critical fat-soluble vitamin we need, and how you can get enough. The three ways ensure ideal levels are exposure to the sun, consuming vitamin rich food, and supplements.

Why is it important, and how much do we need?

Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium from our food and acts like a hormone to help us build strong bones. It can also help with immune function, cellular growth, and help to prevent mood imbalances such as depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD).

Not getting enough of this essential vitamin can lead to bone diseases like osteomalacia.

Inadequate levels can also increase your risk of heart disease, autoimmune diseases, certain cancers, and even death.

The “official” minimum amount to strive for each day is merely 400-600 IU. Many experts think that this is not nearly enough for optimal health.

To ensure you get adequate amounts you can implement any combination of the three sources mentioned above on a weekly basis.

How can I get enough from the sun?

Your skin makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun; that’s why it’s referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.”

How much your skin makes depends on many things. Location, season, clouds, clothing, all affect the amount your skin can produce from the sun.

One standard recommendation is to get about 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to the face, arms, legs, or back. This should be done without sunscreen, at least twice a week.

Of course, we should always avoid sunburns and in some locations (and seasons of the year) it’s not easy to get sun exposure.  So, how can we get enough vitamin D in other ways?

How can I get enough from food?

Vitamin D is naturally found in fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks. Some mushrooms make vitamin D when they’re exposed to the sun.

Some foods are “fortified” (which means vitamin D has been added). These include milk, some orange juices, breakfast cereals, and yogurt. It will say on the label how much has been added per serving.

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, you can increase absorption of it from your food if you eat it with some fat (healthy fat, of course).

Between sun exposure and food, it still may be difficult to get even the minimum of 400 IU each day; this is why supplements are quite popular.

How can I get enough vitamin D from supplements?

It’s easy to take a Vitamin D supplement or take some cod liver oil (which also contains vitamin A from the whole food source). Either of these can ensure that you get the minimum amount of vitamin D, plus a bit extra.

But, before taking supplements, check that they won’t interact with other supplements or medications you may be taking. Always read your labels, and ask a healthcare professional for advice.

Do not take more than the suggested dosage on the label of any supplement, except under medical care.

The maximum amount recommended (for the general population) is 4,000 IU/day. Too much vitamin D can raise your blood levels of calcium (to an unsafe level), and this can affect your heart and kidneys.

The best thing, if you’re concerned, is to ask your healthcare professional to do a blood test and make a recommendation about how much vitamin in supplement form is right for you. Your healthcare practitioner may recommend higher amounts of supplementation for a short time while under their care.


Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin and many people have a hard time maintaining adequate levels.  There are three ways to get enough: sun exposure, certain foods, and in supplements.

I’ve given you some ideas on how you can get the minimum 400-600 IU daily.

If you’re concerned, it’s best to request a blood test that checks your levels to be sure what’s right for you. Always take supplements as directed.

Recipe (vitamin D): Super-Simple Grilled Salmon

Serves 4

4 wild salmon fillets

1 bunch asparagus

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 black pepper

1/4 tsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp. dried dill

4 tbsp olive oil


Preheat the oven broiler and raise the oven rack. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and place fish on top, skin-side down. Surround with a single layer of asparagus.

Sprinkle the fish and asparagus with sea salt, pepper, parsley, and dill. Drizzle with olive oil.

Broil for 8-10 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Serve with a side of rice or quinoa.