How to get vitamin D in the Arab Gulf region?

  • BoshrabronzeAuthor: Boshra Publish date: Thursday، 08 September 2022
How to get vitamin D in the Arab Gulf region?

If you are residing in the Arabian Gulf, you must have previously suffered from a lack of exposure to sunlight and the resulting deficiency of vitamin D, at the end of this article you will be able to follow other ways to obtain this important vitamin safely

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” since up to 90% of vitamin D comes from direct exposure to sunlight. And only 10% of vitamin D is absorbed through our diets.

What is the importance of vitamin D?
Vitamin D is one of the many vitamins your body needs to stay healthy. It plays an important role in maintaining calcium balance in the bloodstream and bones as it has a big role in building and maintaining bones

More specifically, you need vitamin D so that your body can use calcium and phosphorus to build your bones and support healthy tissue

With acute and/or chronic vitamin D deficiency, decreased absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestine leads to hypocalcemia resulting in secondary hyperparathyroidism. As your body tries to balance calcium levels in the blood, your body takes calcium from bones, which speeds up the demineralization process and thus the bones break down faster than it can be repaired resulting in Osteomalacia (soft bones) in adults and rickets in children

Osteomalacia and osteoporosis put your body at an increased risk of bone fractures. Rickets is the same as osteomalacia, but it only affects children. Since the child’s bones are still growing, the removal of minerals causes the bones to bend

What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency depend on the person’s age, the period of deficiency, and the severity of the deficiency. 

A severe deficiency of vitamin D in children leads to rickets, which can lead to undergrowth, muscle spasms, breathing difficulties, and even strokes vitamin D deficiency is not entirely evident in adults. But In adults, mild vitamin D deficiency is associated with a variety of symptoms, many of which are non-specific such as fatigue and general discomfort. Some patients with mild deficiency have no symptoms at all. Moderate to severe deficiency usually causes symptoms of bone pain, muscle weakness/cramps, and a bad mood

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle pain, muscle weakness or muscle cramp
  • Mood changes and depression

Who is exposed to vitamin D deficiency?

Older adults, especially those who stay indoors with limited exposure to sunlight.

Those who have a darker skin tone, e.g. Māori, Pacific Islanders, or veiled.

Those who live in the South Island during the winter. Inhabitants of the Arabian Gulf.

We can make up for some of the deficiency in this vitamin by fortifying our diet with foods containing vitamin D.

The required daily value for vitamin D is 800 international units (20 mcg). Vitamin D content is shown as a percentage on the nutritional content label on food packages. This label tells you how much vitamin D you daily need from food.

What are the best times to get vitamin D from sunlight?

During the summer, being outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. should provide enough sunlight to get your vitamin D needs. You also shouldn’t forget to use sun protections (sunscreen, hats, and coverings) during the summer.
In winter, you should be exposed to sun more often for about 30 minutes a day.
you should avoid the sun’s exposure is between 10am and around 5pm because the sun’s rays are at their strongest at those hours

Certain surfaces, such as cement, sand, water, and snow, reflect the sun’s rays and increase the risk of sunburn as well. Thus, shaded grassy areas are safer to be around.
Not only heat causes sunburn, but UV light as well. UV rays can damage the skin at any time of the year and are most severe during summer. Therefore you should always take precautions because sunburn is not immediately apparent and may not appear for a few hours. Don’t worry about getting skin cancer or getting a skin burn because just 10 minutes won’t do you any harm.
Residents of the Arabian Gulf are advised to soak up the sun on a daily basis. That is, on average, about 10 to 30 minutes of exposure to the sun every day. For those who have light skin, 15 minutes will do.

What foods contain vitamin D?

Oily fish, such as canned tuna, salmon, eggs, lean meats, and dairy products.

One serving (about 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of farmed Atlantic salmon contains 526 IU of vitamin D, or 66% of the DV.

Salmon caught in the Baltic Sea has about 556-924 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, providing 70-111% of the DV.

Fresh Atlantic herring provides 214 international units per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), which is 27% of the daily requirement of vitamin D.

Canned sardines are a good source of vitamin D, too. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving about 193 IU or 24% of the DV for vitamin D.

Other types of fatty fish are also good sources of vitamin D. Halibut provides 190 IU and mackerel provides 643 IU per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).

One large egg yolk contains 37 IU of vitamin D, or 5% of the daily value.

Morels is a type of mushroom that grows in the wild. One cup of these mushrooms contains 136 international units of vitamin D, which is 17% of the required daily value of vitamin D.

One cup of UV-exposed cremini mushrooms contains 1,110 IU of vitamin D, which is 139% of the daily value.

All whole wheat grains including barley, soybeans and dry fruits such as walnuts and peanuts also help to overcome vitamin D deficiency.

Cows milk

In many countries, cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D. Plant-based dairy alternatives such as soy milk are often fortified with vitamin D, along with other nutrients typically found in cow’s milk. One cup (237 ml) usually contains about 100-119 IU of vitamin D or 13-15 % of the daily value, and the amount can vary according to the brand. For example, Al Rawabi milk contains 2,000 IU of vitamin D in a 250 ml cup. It is recommended for children over 4 years and adults, which is about 240% of the daily value

Orange juice

Some companies fortify orange juice with vitamin D and other nutrients such as calcium. One cup (237 ml) of fortified orange juice with breakfast can start your day with up to 100 IU of vitamin D, or 12% of the daily value
One of the best juices fortified with vitamin D is Tropicana Pure Premium, which contains Vitamin D and Calcium

Cod or whale oil

It is an excellent source of Vitamin D. For every teaspoon (4.9 ml) of fish liver oil there are around 450 IU, providing 56% of the daily requirement. Cod oil has been used for many years to treat vitamin D deficiency. It was also used as part of the treatment of rickets, psoriasis and tuberculosis

If you intend to take whale fish oil in capsule form. One capsule per day is sufficient. Each capsule contains about 250 to 300 mg of cod liver oil. It’s enough to provide you with your daily dose

You must stick to the daily dose of cod liver oil and make sure that you don’t exceed the maximum of it or from any other vitamin D supplement

Canned light tuna
Each 3.5 ounces of canned tuna (100 grams) contains up to 269 IU of vitamin D, which is 34% of the Daily Value. Canned light tuna comes from small fish that have low amounts of mercury. While canned white tuna contains a high percentage of mercury .The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recommends eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of light tuna per week. If you are concerned about mercury consumption, talk to your doctor about the appropriate amount of tuna you should be eating per week

Milk fortified with vitamin D

Best goat milk: Meyenberg full cream goat milk

Yoghourt fortified with vitamin D

“Yoplait yoghourt”. It is the only leading brand of yoghourt fortified with Vitamin D.  In every cup it provides an excellent source of both Calcium and Vitamin D in every 6-ounce cup.

Vitamin D fortified cereal

There are several food companies that manufacture breakfast cereals or corn flakes that include vitamin D in their products, including Malt-O-Meal , Ralston , Coco Pops, Rice Krispies, Frosties, Corn Flakes, Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, Special K, Bran Flakes, Sultana Bran, Fruit n Fiber, Disney cereals, Krave, and Honey Loops
Quaker’s Oats, Kellogg’s Special K and Multi Grain Cheerios

When should I take vitamin D?

There is no specific time of the day to take a vitamin D supplement. Some people say that taking vitamin D supplements at night poses a risk for insomnia. Although there is no research to confirm this, but you may want to take the supplement earlier in the day if you think it is disrupting your sleep. This evidence indicated that high vitamin D levels were inversely related to the risk of sleep disturbances


Vitamin D is necessary and essential for building a healthy body, and care must be taken to obtain it in the appropriate quantities, whether through exposure to sunlight or through food, considering taking the proper and safe amount of these fortified foods and avoiding exposure to sunlight during the noon.

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