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Does Vitamin D help improve my bone health?

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.[1]

How much vitamin D do you need?

The amount of vitamin D you need depends on your age. [2]

  • 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.[3]  Health Canada recommends that everyone older than age 50 take a daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU. [4]  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. [5] 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.

Bottom Line:

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.

Dietitians look beyond fads to deliver reliable, life-changing advice. Want to unlock the potential of food?   CONNECT WITH US!

Written by Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc – Award-winning dietitian and Co-Founder, n4nn

References:

[1] 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

[2] 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

[3] Osteoporosis Canada (2022) Vitamin D. Available at: https://osteoporosis.ca/vitamin-d/

[4]  Health Canada (2022) Vitamin D. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/nutrients/vitamin-d.html

[5] Alberta Health Services (2022) Learning About Vitamin D. Available at: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/health/AfterCareInformation/pages/conditions.aspx?HwId=ad2017

 

Meet three passionate Ontario food producers who make our food

At a time when consumers have more questions than ever about where their food comes from and how it’s produced, Dietitians are finding answers. Once again, we were invited to go behind the behind the scenes to learn more about farming and food production. Here is a brief story of the three local Ontario farmers we met, who are passionate about what they do – which is to grow Ontario food that we enjoy so much.

Pristine Gourmet

 We met Jason, a 4th generation farmer who wanted to add value to the farm operation. He and his wife Linda bought another farm and built a grain drying and storage facility. Pristine Gourmet was formed with the vision of supplying the food industry and restaurants with quality, local artisan foods. Today through the brand Pristine Gourmet Pure Virgin Oils, the Persall family provides cold pressed products including canola, soybean and sunflower oils, all of which are 100% pure Canadian from field to table. https://www.pristinegourmet.com/

Image: Lucia and Sue tour seed oil production facility

Roanoke Farm

 Scott Persall shared his story where along with his father, Doug, and his wife, Sara, they grow corn, soybeans, and wheat on 400 acres near Waterford, Ontario. They also have 18,000 egg laying hens. At this stop, we learned about the day-to-day operation of grain and oilseed production including the hard work that goes into planting, growing and harvesting Ontario’s crops.

Image: Lucia in a soybean field

Image: Sue in a corn field

P & H Milling Group

We had a rare opportunity to tour a state-of-the-art flour making facility and grain terminal elevator owned by Parrish and Heimbecker Ltd., (P&H) on the Port of Hamilton.  P&H is a Canadian, family-owned agribusiness, with roots in the agriculture industry since 1909. P&H are manufacturers of the high quality of wheat and pulse-based products including hard and soft flour, durum semolina, bran, wheat germ, organic hard and soft flours, organic pea starch and a variety of pulses. https://phmilling.com/

Images: P & H Grain terminal elevator and mill.

Thanks to the event sponsors for hosting an informative day and introducing us to farmers who shared insights and knowledge on food and farming. Farm and Food Care Ontario  and Canadian Agricultural Partnership

Written by Lucia Weiler, RD, PHEc, Award-winning dietitian and Co-Founder, n4nn