According to MedlinePlus, the three ways in which a person can get vitamin D is through his skin, diet or supplements. The body naturally forms vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight, but because too much sun can be damaging to the skin and health, many people find other methods of getting this nutrient.
MedlinePlus explains that spending 10 to 15 minutes in the sun three times each week can supply the body with the required amount of vitamin D. Those using this method must let the shine sun on the entire body, including the face, arms, back and legs, without using sunscreen. After a few minutes in the sun, sunscreen should be applied since excessive exposure to natural sunlight increases the risk of skin cancer. Skin exposed to sunlight through windows does not produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D, and those who live in areas that get minimal natural sunlight need other sources of this nutrient.
There are only a few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, including some fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks, cheese and mushrooms, notes MedlinePlus. A wide variety of foods have added vitamin D, including milk, cereals, soy beverages, orange juice, margarine and yogurt. Because it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources, many individuals choose to take supplements containing vitamin D.