Today, November 1st, is world Vitamin D day. This is a good reminder for those of us living in Canada to supplement with vitamin D3. We know that most people, except those who live closer to the equator, are low in vitamin D all year long. In the fall and winter we can’t make enough vitamin D from the sun and Vitamin D deficiency increases.
Why is Vitamin D important?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that plays so many important roles, including but not limited to:
Helps protect you from developing osteoporosis.
Influences your metabolism.
Helps your muscles move.
Helps your nerves carry messages between your brain and your body.
Influences symptoms of depression, negative emotions, and quality of life.
Your immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Sources of Vitamin D:
Sun (in the summer only; there isn't enough to make Vitamin D in the fall/winter)
Food sources of Vitamin D:
Vitamin D occurs in very few foods. Most dietary vitamin D is from fortified foods.
Common naturally occurring (significant) food sources of Vitamin D:
the yolk of an egg
fatty fish like salmon/rainbow trout etc
Fortified food sources of Vitamin D:
milk or plant-based beverages
As a Registered Dietitian, I encourage people to try to get nutrients from food. Vitamin D is one of the few supplements that I recommend for at least the fall and winter months.
Health Canada's daily recommendations:
Ages 1-70: 600 IU
Ages 70+: 800 IU
Tolerable upper limit: 4000 IU
* Please note, 600-800 IU per day for an adult is a very conservative recommendation. Someone weighing 200 lbs will likely need more vitamin D than someone weighing 100 lbs.
* Vitamin D toxicity (taking too much) is rare, but it can happen. Consult a health care provider (physician, pharmacist or Registered Dietitian) for personalized recommendations.
* For increased absorption, take your vitamin D supplement with meals since ingesting fat helps Vitamin D absorption (due to vitamin D being a fat soluble vitamin).
Thanks for reading!