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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Nutrition - Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is just as important for our bones as calcium is.

Vitamin D helps increase the body's absorption of calcium. If we don't get enough vitamin D it is estimated that we would absorb only half the calcium we consume.

There is new research that also links lack of vitamin D to other health conditions. It is important for many reasons to get enough vitamin D every day.

Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin. This is because our skin can make vitamin D (using the cholesterol in our bodies) when exposed to sunlight. The problem is that in Canada in the winter months, the sun is not strong enough for our bodies to make enough vitamin D. We must also consume vitamin D from food.



How Much is Enough?

Life Stage

Age

Vitamin D Needs

Safe Upper Level

Infants

0-6 months

400 IU*

1000 IU

7-12 months

400 IU*

1500 IU

Children

1-3 years

600 IU

2500 IU

4-8 years

600 IU

3000 IU

9-18 years

600 IU

4000 IU

Adults

19-70 years

600 IU

4000 IU

70+ years

800 IU

4000 IU

Source: Dietary Reference Intakes, 2010.

* Babies 0-12 months need a Vitamin D supplement.  Read more at Babies & Children


All adults over 50 years should take 400 International Unit (IU) of vitamin D every day. If you take a multivitamin, check to be sure it contains 400 IU. If you do not take a multivitamin, take vitamin D in tablet or liquid form.

If you have questions about your vitamin D needs, talk to your health care provider or call EatRight Ontario toll free 1-877-510-5102 to speak with a Registered Dietitian at no cost.



Food Sources

There are very few natural food source of vitamin D. Some food sources include fresh or canned fatty-fish (e.g. salmon - 245 IU) and mushrooms (10-25 IU).

Most other sources of vitamin D are fortified foods such as cow's milk (100 IU), soy beverage (and other plant-based beverages), some yogurts (check the label - not all yogurts have added vitamin D) and margarine (25 IU).




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