Work Indoors? You're Probably Vitamin D Deficient

If you work indoors or spend most of your time inside, there’s a good chance you’re vitamin D deficient. If you’re not sure what that means, think about this: If you have a vitamin D deficiency, your risk for heart disease, mental decline, cancer, and asthma (in children), goes up. So does your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and even multiple sclerosis. Lack of vitamin D has even been linked to weak immune system function, depression, and skin-related problems.

How can you tell if you’re vitamin D deficient? You can’t really tell by simply assessing how you feel. But a basic blood test can measure your vitamin D levels. It’s the best way to find out if you’re getting enough vitamin D from your diet and time in the sun, or if you need to take a vitamin D supplement.

And chances are pretty good that you do. In a recent meta analysis, researchers looked at vitamin D levels for 53,400 people. They found that people who work indoors are mostly likely to have a vitamin D deficiency (around 70 to 80 percent). But even among people who work outdoors, and spend more time in the sun, about 48 percent were still vitamin D deficient.

The Sunshine Diet for Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found naturally found in some foods. And it’s sometimes used to fortify milk, cereal, juice, etc. But the best source of vitamin D for most people is the sun. When your skin is exposed to natural sunlight, vitamin D is produced and absorbed. And it doesn’t take a lot of time. Fifteen minutes in the sun without sunblock (for a fair-skinned person) is enough time to produce vitamin D stores.

Vitamin D Supplement

But if your work, lifestyle, and environment make it hard to spend time outside, taking a vitamin D supplement can help too. The U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements recommends 600 IU of vitamin D per day for people age 1 to 70. For those 71 and older, 800 IU of vitamin D daily is recommended. But you may need more depending on where you live and how much/little sun exposure you get.

Foods High in Vitamin D

Not a lot of foods contain high levels of vitamin D. But there are some worth adding to your diet. Like salmon, tuna, eggs, mushrooms, and dairy products.

A little more time in the sun will help you prevent vitamin D deficiency. Changes to your diet can help too. A Low-Carb diet makes sense, because it typically calls for eating more natural protein sources that contain vitamin D like Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach, or Spinach Lasagna with Garlic Green Beans.