Sharecare Top 5: What You Should Know This Fall About the Sunshine Vitamin

Daylight Savings Time ends November 3, and who doesn’t love the extra hour of sleep we’ll get? But the shorter, darker days ahead mean you could be at risk for not getting enough vitamin D, especially if you live above 40 degrees latitude (roughly north of an imaginary line between Los Angeles and Atlanta), where the winter sun isn’t strong enough to synthesize vitamin D. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of people are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. That’s a problem, because not having enough D can up your risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, depression and even cancer. So, unless you make like a snowbird and head south, what’s a person to do? Try these top ways to get your D.

1. Take a supplement
Michael Roizen, MD, recommends choosing a daily vitamin D3 supplement of 400 IUs if you’re under age 60; 600 IU if you’re older. (Find out the best time to take a vitamin D supplement to boost absorption.) Talk to your doctor, though, because too much vitamin D can cause serious problems, including bone loss and more. Watch this video with Tod Cooperman, MD, to find out the health risks of getting too much D.

2. Go fish
Fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna are chock-full of vitamin D. Need some ideas for incorporating these fish into your diet? Try cooking up this recipe for delicious Asian-style salmon or raspberry marinated tuna steaks. You don’t even have to get fresh fish! Three ounces of canned salmon gives you 500 IU of vitamin D and 3 ounces of canned tuna has 200 IU. Plus eating fish can help boost your memory, relieve chronic pain and improve your heart health.

3. Get fortified
Look for fortified cereals, milk or orange juice (check the food labels). One glass of OJ or one cup of milk can give you an additional 100 IU of the sunshine vitamin. Find out how orange juice boosts your immunity, too.

4. Crack an egg
Need some vitamin D? Scramble some eggs. According to the USDA, one large egg contains about 50 IU of vitamin D3. But don’t go for just the egg whites – vitamin D is concentrated in the yolk. (Afraid to eat eggs because they’re bad for you? They actually have less cholesterol than you think.)

5. Munch on mushrooms
Mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D, especially if they’ve been treated with light before being harvested. Look for the words “UV exposed” or “vitamin D treated” on the package. Just three ounces of treated mushrooms can have 400 IU of the sunshine vitamin. So cook them in a casserole or toss some in your stir-fry and you’re good to go. Find out how mushrooms can help you prevent a cold as well.