Get answers to your nutrition and healthy eating questions. Visit www.eatrightontario.ca or call us toll-free at 1-877-510-510-2.
Get answers to your nutrition & healthy eating questions.
Call us toll-free† at 1-877-510-510-2 to speak directly with a Registered Dietitian.
Vitamin D has received quite a bit of attention over the last few years. Recently, the recommended amounts for Vitamin D increased for people of all ages. Read on for information and tips on how to benefit from the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium and vitamin D work together to help you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps your muscles, nerves and immune system work properly. Recent research has shown that vitamin D may be linked to lowering the risk of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and some cancers.
The amount of vitamin D you need depends on your age.
Aim for an intake of international units (IU)/day
Stay below IU/day*
Infants 0-6 months old
Infants 7-12 months old
Children 1-3 years old
Children 4-8 years old
Children and Adults 9-70 years old
Adults over 71 years old
Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
*This includes vitamin D from both food and supplements
Vitamin D is not found in many foods; however, you can find vitamin D in:
EatRight Ontario can answer questions on feeding your baby. Call 1-877-510-5102 or send an email.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends that everyone over 2 years of age drink 500 mL (2 cups) of milk or fortified soy beverage every day to get enough vitamin D. Speak to your healthcare provider if you do not drink milk or fortified soy beverage. They can help you determine if you need a vitamin D supplement in addition to eating other vitamin D-rich foods.
Health Canada recommends that men and women over 50 take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.
Children and adults who do not get enough vitamin D from foods or have low blood levels of vitamin D may need a supplement. Adults with osteopenia or osteoporosis may also need a vitamin D supplement. To find out your vitamin D levels, visit your doctor. A Registered Dietitian or your doctor can help you decide if you should take a supplement and how much to take.
Vitamin D supplements are sold over-the-counter as pills, chewable tablets or drops.
A well planned vegan or vegetarian diet can include all the vitamin D you need. However, vegan or vegetarian children and adults who do not get enough vitamin D from foods or have low blood levels of vitamin D may need a vitamin D supplement. Speak to your doctor, healthcare provider or Registered Dietitian about your vitamin D needs. If you have questions about planning a vegetarian eating plan, call 1-877-510-5102 or send an email.
Yes. During the spring and summer, your body can make vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun without sunscreen on. The amount of vitamin D that your body can make from sunlight also depends on your age, where you live and your skin tone. During the fall and winter in Ontario, it is hard to get enough vitamin D. Do not depend on only sunshine to meet your vitamin D needs.
No. Your total vitamin D intake should be below the maximum amount allowed per day to avoid any possible negative effects. See the chart above to make sure you are getting the amount you need.
Vitamin D is important for strong bones and may be linked to lowering the risk of some cancers.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends that everyone over 2 years of age drink 500 mL (2 cups) of milk or fortified soy beverage every day to get enough vitamin D.
If you do not drink milk or fortified soy beverage, speak to your health professional to find out if you need a vitamin D supplement.
If you are a man or woman over 50 years old, it is recommended that you take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU in addition to eating foods that contain vitamin D.
If you have more questions about how much vitamin D you need or would like a handout on vitamin D food choices, call an EatRight Ontario Registered Dietitian at 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.
Strong Bones for Life
Vitamins and Minerals FAQ
Vitamin D: What you Need to Know, Dietitians of Canada
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