Learn about vitamin D and how to get enough.
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About vitamin D
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is important to your health. Vitamin D plays many roles. It:
- helps your body absorb calcium
- builds and maintains strong bones and teeth
Getting enough vitamin D
You can get vitamin D from:
Most Canadians are getting enough vitamin D.
Sunlight and vitamin D
Vitamin D is a unique vitamin. This is because your body can make it when it is exposed to sunlight.
Many factors can reduce how much vitamin D your body makes, including:
- time of day
- cloud cover
- sunscreen use
- limited outdoor time
- amount of skin exposed to sunlight
- you make less vitamin D as you get older
- colour of skin:
- people with darker skin absorb less of the sun's ultraviolet rays
These factors make it hard to estimate the amount of vitamin D you make from sun exposure.
Food sources of vitamin D
Vitamin D occurs naturally in very few foods. Most dietary vitamin D is from fortified foods, where vitamin D has been added. When vitamin D is added it must appear on the nutrition facts table.
You can get vitamin D from foods recommended by Canada's food guide. Examples include:
- soft margarine
- fatty fish, such as:
- rainbow trout
- unsweetened lower fat milk
- unsweetened fortified plant-based beverages, such as soy beverage
Vitamin D supplements
If you are over 50 years old, Health Canada recommends that you take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU (equivalent to 10 µg).
Speak to your health care provider about taking a vitamin D supplement if you think you are not getting enough of it.
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