If you regularly take a vitamin D supplement, new research has shown that you probably aren’t taking enough. In fact, the new recommended daily intake is ten times higher than what it was!

However, before amping up your vitamin D intake, it’s helpful to know exactly why vitamin D is so important. Here are just some of the things vitamin D is responsible for:

  • Regulating calcium absorption
  • Optimizing immune function
  • Reducing odd of getting the flu
  • Improving bone health
  • Decreasing the likelihood of developing multiple sclerosis
  • Lowering high blood pressure

As you can see, this is one vitamin that doesn’t mess around. It’s also been linked to reduced mortality, depression, and several other diseases, so you definitely want to make sure your body has enough of it.

Check Your Levels
Before beginning any change in your diet, it’s best to consult with your doctor. You’ll want to get your vitamin D levels checked and figure out an approach that’s right for you. Where you live might actually affect your levels of D. The farther away you live from the equator, the more difficult it is for your body to make vitamin D in the winter. So if you live in a northern state, don’t be surprised if your levels are low. Other factors, like air pollution, body fat, and even your age can affect your vitamin D levels too.

Eat Your Vitamin D
The best way to increase your vitamin D levels is to take a three-pronged approach. Get more sunlight (safely) take supplements, and eat foods that are high in vitamin D.

Here are some vitamin D-rich foods you can incorporate into your diet.

  • Fatty fish, like salmon have 65% more vitamin D than the 2010 RDA;
  • One serving of mushrooms grown in ultraviolet light; try adding some mushrooms to your eggs for breakfast);
  • A glass of fortified milk or orange juice could provide up to 34% of the current vitamin D RDA, depending on the brand;
  • Just a tablespoon of cod liver oil (add it to smoothies) has 340% of the RDA for vitamin D;
  • Beef liver can provide 11% of the RDA for vitamin D

In the summer months, thanks to sunny days, we naturally get more of our D. But if you’re feeling low energy or kind of “off,” get your vitamin D levels checked. They could be the key to feeling a little more like your usual, sunshiney self.