Everywhere you turn there is news about the importance of vitamin D, yet it is estimated that two-thirds of the world’s population do not get enough of it. Now, new guidelines from Osteoporosis Canada recommends even higher intakes of vitamin D.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for Canada and the US is 200 IUs for people up to age 50, 400 IUs between 51 and 70, and 600 IUs for those over age 70. The new Canadian recommendations double that, suggesting 400 to 1,000 IUs for adults under 50. For those over 50, 800 to 2,000 IUs daily are recommended.
To get that much vitamin D, people would probably have to take supplements, since it is only found naturally at high levels in a few foods – including fish, eggs, cod liver oil. Milk, orange juice, margarine and some brands of yogurt and breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D. Fortification levels aim for about 400 IUs a day.
Though your body can make vitamin D from sunlight, most of us do not get enough this way. Use of sunscreen, darker skin and living in northern areas of the world all limit our sun exposure.
The Canadian recommendations say that people can safely take up to 2,000 IUs of vitamin D a day. Taking amounts over this should be done with medical supervision.