Vitamin D – What You Need to Know

Vitamin D Sunlight Winter Advice Windsor On Dr Scott ColasantiMaintaining a good level of Vitamin D is important for bone health and helps to prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D is also thought to help with the body’s immune system, fight certain cancers and help prevent disease; such as heart disease and diabetes.

Your body naturally produces Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. During the long winter months, this can be a challenge for most Canadians. The cold weather keeps many of inside, and when out, we are usually quite bundled up.

It’s a good idea to add foods to your diet throughout the winter to help maintain your Vitamin D levels. Foods that contain Vitamin D include:

  • Egg yolks
  • Fatty fish such as tuna and salmon
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Maitake mushrooms and portabella mushrooms grown with exposure to ultraviolet light
  • Beverages and foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, plant-based milk, orange juice and cereals

As with all food choices, it’s important to read the labels.

How much Vitamin D do you need?

According to the Institute of Medicine, here are the recommended levels by age:

  • Infants age 0 to 6 months: adequate intake, 400 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 1,000 IU/day
  • Infants age 6 to 12 months: adequate intake, 400 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 1,500 IU/day
  • Age 1-3 years: adequate intake, 600 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 2,500 IU/day
  • Age 4-8 years: adequate intake, 600 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 3,000 IU/day
  • Age 9-70: adequate intake, 600 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 4,000 IU/day
  • Age 71+ years: adequate intake, 800 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 4,000 IU/day

Keep in mind that too much of anything can be harmful; excess Vitamin D can result in kidney stones and calcium build-up in the heart, lungs, blood vessels and other soft tissues.

If you’re concerned about your Vitamin D, speak to your family doctor.

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