How to Get Vitamin D Through Food, Since Most People Are Staying Indoors

It’s easy to get vitamin D through sunlight, but there are other options.

By Brittany Leitner
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I’d like to think I’m eating healthier than ever since I’m making most of my meals at home, but it’s still hard to know if I’m getting my daily dose of recommended vitamins. I’m especially worried about vitamin D, which is easy to access through sunlight. Since I’m staying indoors due to quarantine, I still want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to get enough vitamin D through the food I’m eating.

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Recently, there’s been some debate on whether or not vitamin D levels in the body have anything to do with the ability to better fight off COVID-19. Though research has been inconclusive, it has many wondering if they need to focus on vitamin D intake since people are staying indoors more often and avoiding sunlight. 

Independent of COVID-19, having adequate amounts of vitamin D in the body is important for overall good health and immunity, which is why it should always be a focus in your total health plan. Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University's Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center and president of the nonprofit True Health Initiative, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show on May 7, 2020 to discuss why and how Americans can make it a point to care for their vitamin D intake. 

According to Dr. Katz, there are vitamin D receptors on white blood cells, therefore it’s plausible that higher levels of vitamin D may optimize the body’s immune response to COVID-19. “So I think it does make sense to think about optimizing your level of vitamin D, not so much because of this one study, but because of our general understanding,” says Dr. Katz. Dr. Katz references research from 2012 published in the Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, which found that respiratory tract infections were reported at lower rates in a control group that were taking vitamin D supplements. “I think routine supplementation with vitamin D made sense before. And it makes sense in the context of doing all you can to defend yourself against this infection,” says Dr. Katz. He also notes how important it is to get adequate levels of vitamin C and zinc, to keep your body functioning at its best. 

vitamin d

Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

If you’re concerned about your levels of vitamin D, signs of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Getting sick often
  • Feeling fatigued or tired frequently
  • Experiencing bone and back pain
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle pain

Foods You Can Eat With Vitamin D

If you think you may be vitamin D deficient, contact your doctor. He or she may recommend a blood test to adequately test levels further. If your doctor isn't worried, or you don’t want to get tested right away, you can make small changes to your diet to up your vitamin D intake. Here are a few foods with vitamin D.

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel 
  • Tuna
  • Fortified foods, like cereal
  • Milk
  • Orange juice
  • Egg Yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Sardines

“The new vitamin D information is just one piece of the puzzle; it’s not a cure,” says Dr. Oz. “[Vitamin D] helps improve your overall health. I think getting vitamins, positive lifestyle changes, and eating a balanced diet is always a good idea.” To learn more about how to make positive lifestyle changes today that could help your body fight against COVID-19, take a look at Dr. Oz’s Total Health Take Back plan.


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Article written by Brittany Leitner