Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin involved in bone formation, insulin regulation, muscle function, immune health, and the balance of phosphorus and calcium in the body. To prevent deficiency of vitamin D3, a form of vitamin D synthesized in the skin of humans and animals, adults should take in 600 IU of vitamin D every day. If you are at risk for deficiency or are already deficient, it is essential to bring your levels up quickly to prevent long-term health effects. Consult your doctor before making dietary changes or beginning supplementation with vitamin D3 or any other vitamin or mineral.
Eat foods rich in vitamin D, such as shrimp, eggs and salmon, whenever possible. Unfortunately, few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, and those that do contain the vitamin are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
Boost vitamin D3 levels with fortified foods. Because natural food sources of vitamin D are scarce, the government fortifies many commonly consumed foods with the vitamin. Choose fortified versions of orange juice, butter substitutes, yogurts, cereal and milk.
Include foods in your diet that contain the co-factors for vitamin D, which are nutrients that aid in the proper absorption and utilization of the vitamin. Magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K, zinc and boron are all necessary to bring up levels of vitamin D3. Magnesium levels have the greatest effect on vitamin D3, so include nuts, beans and fish in your daily diet, or take a magnesium supplement if you are at risk for deficiency.
Spend some time outdoors in the sun every day to bring your vitamin D3 levels up fast. Just 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure daily can prevent vitamin D deficiency in most people. Those with darker skin tones might require more time in the sun.
Take a vitamin D3 supplement if your food sources of the vitamin are insufficient, or if you are unable to spend time outdoors. Supplements might also be necessary if you are breastfeeding or suffer from a medical condition that impairs your ability to absorb dietary fat or process vitamin D.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist about medications you are currently taking that might interfere with your body's ability to absorb or use vitamin D3. Anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, hormone replacement drugs, anticoagulants and several other medications can reduce vitamin D levels.