How to Get into the Habit of Receiving Adequate Vitamin D 

Cory Mazure | 23 Dec, 2021

What is Vitamin D

Everyone has probably heard of the infamous vitamin D, but what really is it and why should you care about getting sufficient amounts? Vitamin D is a crucial fat-soluble vitamin that we receive from sunlight and some foods, such as fish and oranges. When adequate levels are consumed, our guts are given the tools to absorb more calcium, which leads to bone growth and reduction in muscle cramps. In addition to promoting calcium absorption, vitamin D helps reduce inflammation, improves immune function, and has even been shown to reduce depression symptoms. 

What are the Negative Effects of Being Vitamin D Deficient 

Deficiency in vitamin D has been associated with many adverse health conditions, such as bone softening, low bone density, heart disease, and cancer. According to a 2012 study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, low levels of vitamin D were associated with a 64% greater risk of heart attack, 40% greater risk of heart disease, and a 57% greater risk of early death. From research on studies like this one, it is clear that being deficient in vitamin D is associated with a plethora of negative health conditions and one should pursue the micro changes required to never have to worry about vitamin D deficiency again.

Why You are Most Likely Deficient

You might be thinking that these negative effects are bad, but they do not apply to me. Based on these following studies, chances are that you’re deficient in vitamin D, at least for part of the year. According to a study run by the Cleveland Clinic, 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. In Dr. Kahn’s book, “Your Whole Heart Solution ” he claims that 95% of his patients test low in vitamin D. Staggering numbers like these leads to the question, why are so many people deficient in Vitamin D? There are many factors at play, but the heavy hitters are the modern-day lifestyles, your geography, and your ethnicity.

Modern-Day Lifestyle 

Our modern-day lifestyles, at least in the United States, do not promote much time outdoors. Time outside is crucial to get adequate levels of vitamin D, and it is clear we are not doing this enough as the EPA has stated that the average American spends 93% of their life indoors. This sedentary lifestyle has also caused us to become overweight and obese. Being overweight makes it more difficult to have adequate vitamin D levels as the vitamin D gets stuck in fat cells, being fat-soluble. As you can see, our current sedentary lifestyles lead to suboptimal vitamin D levels.  


Another factor to consider is geography. Where you are on earth plays a large role in how much sunlight you can get at any given point. If you live somewhere like the north pole, your exposure to the sun is almost nonexistent for a large part of the year. Even in many cities within the United States year-round sunlight is impossible to achieve due to the changing of the seasons. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about your geography except to move to a more tropical location with year-round sunlight. If you are stuck in a location with long winters, it is important to recognize this and implement an appropriate action plan to make up for your limited seasonal sunlight.  


Ethnicities’ role in vitamin D absorption can not be ignored. People with darker skin tones have greater amounts of melanin present in their skin, which causes the skin to have a darker color. The presence of more melanin reduces vitamin D production in the skin, meaning those who have darker skin need more exposure to sunlight to get the same vitamin D production as someone with lighter skin. 

Action Plan 

If you believe that you fall under one of the previous “risk factors” then it would be best to take the following steps to analyze your current levels and get into healthy habits to promote sufficient vitamin D levels. 

Check Your Vitamin D Levels

The first step in determining if you need to make a lifestyle change is by getting blood work done. Simply go to your doctor and ask for a blood panel including vitamin D. These blood panels are typically covered by insurance and will be able to tell you if your vitamin D score falls in a sufficient range. If your score comes back normal, you are doing great and have nothing to worry about. If you are deficient, progress with the following tips to get your score up to where it needs to be. 

Light Exposure

The best way to increase your vitamin D levels is by getting exposed to the sun, preferably early in the day. Absorbing UV rays through the skin leads to vitamin D production, but depending on where you live, this may not always be possible. If you live in a part of the world with sufficient sunlight and temperatures that allow for you to get outside year-round, try to get into the practice of going outside for a walk or meditation in the morning. 

Dminder App

This is a tool that helps you get into the habit of getting more sunlight and easily track how much vitamin D you are getting in a day. I have used this app and am a big fan of the data it gives you. It informs you of how much vitamin D you received from the sun given the inputs of how long you were outside, your location, and how much skin you had exposed. It also provides you data on the optimal time of day to go outside to get the most sun exposure and informs you on how long you can stay outside without risking sunburns. Give the Dminder app a try, it is available on the google play store and the apple app store. 


Depending on your vitamin D level from your blood work, it might be advisable to take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D supplements are best taken with food as they are fat-soluble. Please refer to your medical professional on the appropriate dosage of vitamin D based on your blood work. It is also advisable to get a follow-up blood panel done to see if the supplementation has helped with getting your vitamin D score into a healthy range. When taking any supplement, it is important to get your supplements from a reliable source. Many brands that you find in the grocery store or on amazon produce poor quality supplements and falsely advertise the actual amount of nutrients per serving. Refer to this guide (insert another article here) to help identify trusted supplement brands. 


Some foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, so consider incorporating fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as orange juice into your meal plan if you are deficient. Vitamin D also comes from animal fats. For those who are vegan or vegetarian, it is very likely that you are not getting sufficient vitamin D so it is crucial to get blood work done and enact a supplementation plan to offset the vitamin D you are not getting from animal products. If you are someone who is overweight or obese, it is advisable to start the effort of losing weight as vitamin D gets trapped in fat cells. The smaller the fat cells are, the less vitamin D is trapped from being accessible by the rest of the body. 

Key Takeaways

From this article, I hope you were able to learn more about vitamin D and were given the appropriate tools to get into the habit of getting sufficient levels of vitamin D. Small changes in lifestyle can go a long way in making a change that could improve your health for years to come. Before implementing any of these changes, please speak with a medical professional and get your blood panel done to see where your current levels are. A simple check-up like this can help give you peace of mind or open the door to the activities required to get your vitamin D levels back on track.  

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