Vitamin D is one of four fat-soluble vitamins we need to maintain our health. In addition to vitamin D’s well-known role in maintaining strong bones and teeth, it also promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and supports our immune system.


World's Population that is vitamin D deficient.

How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?

Currently, Health Canada recommends that healthy children and adults consume 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day. Adults over the age of 70 are recommended to consume 800 IU per day. You can visit Health Canada’s website for a complete list of adequate intakes. 

Am I At Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Did you know that nearly 50% of the world’s population is vitamin D deficient? This is partially because vitamin D is not widely found in our food like most other vitamins. This is also confounded by limited sun exposure in the Northern and Southern regions (as opposed to the equator) during the winter months.

Vitamin D deficiency is can lead to,

    • Poor bone density, also known as osteoporosis
    • Poor absorption of calcium and phosphorus

Some populations have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than others. This includes,


Elderly populations are commonly at risk for vitamin D deficiency due to low dietary intakes, as well as decreased ability to synthesizes vitamin D from UV rays. 

People living in northern & southern regions

Because our primary source of vitamin D is from synthesis from sunlight, those of us living in Northern and Southern regions may benefit from supplementation.

People with dark skin pigmentations or excess weight

Darker skin pigmentation or excess weight can also impact the synthesis of vitamin D from sunlight. These individuals may also benefit from vitamin D supplementation.

People living in tropical regions

People that often wear sunblock outside can also benefit from supplementation. Sunblock protects us against the UVA/UVB rays from the sun, but small amounts of these rays are needed for vitamin D synthesis. Studies show that individuals who routinely wear sunblock while outside are also at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, despite living in tropical regions.

Role of Vitamin D in Chronic Diseases

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk/occurrence of some conditions, including weight gain.

Studies have reported an association between vitamin D deficiency and increases in weight and body mass index (BMI). One study, in particular, reported vitamin D supplementation to be associated with an average weight loss of 7 lbs

Additionally, some studies have reported vitamin D deficiency to be associated with an increase in our risk of chronic diseases including, 

    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
    • Hypertension
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Obesity

Where Can I Find Vitamin D?

Although vitamin D is not abundantly found in our diet it can be found in select foods, including

    • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring)
    • Egg yolk
    • Fortified foods (Vitamin D is added to these foods to increase their nutritional value. These foods include milk, orange juice, cereal & oatmeal)
    • Liver
    • Mushrooms
Oysters on ice.

Dietary sources of vitamin D may not be sufficient intake for some people, particularly elderly people. People in at-risk populations may need additional supplementation to ensure they meet the recommended intakes.

Dietary Supplements

We have many options available for vitamin D supplementation. Our choices for supplementation include,

    • Vitamin D3 capsules (a new dosage has recently been released!)
    • Vitamin D sublingual drops
    • Vitamin D injections

As I mentioned earlier, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means vitamin D can be stored in our bodies. In terms of supplementation, we don’t need to take supplements daily but use them weekly or monthly to make sure we are not deficient.

The Take Away

If you’re at risk of vitamin D deficiency, or simply spending a lot of time indoors (particularly thanks to COVID) it might be a good idea to use supplements to ensure you meed the recommended intakes. 

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