Yes, Vitamin D is important for strong bones. Your body needs vitamin D to 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.
How much vitamin D do you need?
The amount of vitamin D you need depends on your age. 
- Ages 1 through 70 the recommended vitamin D intake is 600 IU (international units) every day
- Adults 71 and older need 800 IU every day.
How can you get vitamin D?
Your body uses sunshine to make its own vitamin D, and Vitamin D is found in a few foods. These include:
- Fatty fish (like trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best natural sources of vitamin D.
- Cow’s milk (In Canada, cow’s milk must be fortified with vitamin D.)
- Fortified soy and rice beverages (check the label)
- Fortified orange juice
- Margarine (mandatory fortification)
- Egg yolks
- Fortified yogurts (check the label)
NOTE: Health Canada has revised vitamin D fortification and the Percent Daily Value has increased for Vitamin D. New nutrition facts labels transition deadline is December 15, 2022.
Health Canada continues to work toward an updated Vitamin D fortification strategy which they shared with Dietitians at their Annual Conference on September 15, 2022. Contact us with your questions on the future of Vitamin D fortification in Canadian foods.
Do you need a vitamin D supplement?
It can be difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone and some people don’t make Vitamin D as well as others. They may have to take extra care in getting enough vitamin D. Things that reduce the amount of Vitamin D in your body includes:
- Having a dark skin tone
- Age, especially if you are older than 65
- Digestive problems, such as Crohn’s or celiac disease
- Liver and kidney disease
- Using sunscreen or clothing to cover your skin
If you do not get enough vitamin D from foods or have low blood levels of vitamin D, you may need a supplement. Osteoporosis Canada says Canadians can’t get enough vitamin D through diet alone and recommends routine vitamin D supplementation for all Canadian adults year round. Health Canada recommends that everyone older than age 50 take a daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.  For people 51 years and older many dietitians recommend a daily 1000 IU Vitamin D supplement. Health Canada recommends adults not go over 4000 IU of Vitamin D daily.  There are no additional benefits of Vitamin D over this limit.
Consult your dietitian or doctor for your Vitamin D needs. Remember your total Vitamin D intake should be below the maximum amount allowed per day to avoid any possible negative effects.
Getting enough Vitamin D is important for bone health. You can maintain adequate vitamin D levels through a combination of limited sun exposure, a Vitamin-D-rich diet, and if needed, taking Vitamin D supplements. Connect with a dietitian or doctor to make sure you are getting the amount of Vitamin D you need. Ask your doctor or dietitian about steps you can take to prevent weak bones and lower your risk for osteoporosis.
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Written by Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc – Award-winning dietitian and Co-Founder, n4nn
 Dietitians of Canada – Unlock Food.ca (2019) What you need to know about Vitamin D. Available at: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/What-you-need-to-know-about-Vitamin-D.aspx
 Health Canada (2020) Vitamin D and Calcium: Updated Dietary Reference Intakes Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/vitamins-minerals/vitamin-calcium-updated-dietary-reference-intakes-nutrition.html#a7
 Osteoporosis Canada (2022) Vitamin D. Available at: https://osteoporosis.ca/vitamin-d/
 Health Canada (2022) Vitamin D. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/nutrients/vitamin-d.html
 Alberta Health Services (2022) Learning About Vitamin D. Available at: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/health/AfterCareInformation/pages/conditions.aspx?HwId=ad2017
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