Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium so you can maintain healthy bones and teeth. It also keeps your muscles, nerves and immune system functioning properly and may even lower your risk of disease. So how do you know if you’re getting enough? Or too much?
According to the Registered Dietitians of Canada here’s what you should aim for. *Includes dietary and supplementary sources.
Recommended vitamin D dosage by age:
- Infants aged 0-6 months: 400 IU/day, stay below 1000 IU/day
- Infants aged 7-12 months: 400 IU/day, stay below 1500 IU/day
- Children aged 1-3 years: 600 IU/day, stay below 2500 IU/day
- Children aged 4-8 years: 600 IU/day, stay below 3000 IU/day
- Children and adults aged 9-70 years: 600 IU/day, stay below 4000 IU/day
- Adults aged 71 years and over: 800 IU/day, stay below 4000 IU/day
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU/day, stay below 4000 IU/day
You may assume you’re getting enough vitamin D just from being out in the sun. And while it’s true your body can make vitamin D from sunlight, there are mitigating factors. These factors include your age, your skin tone, where you live and whether or not you’re wearing sunscreen.
If you’re looking to receive your daily dose of vitamin D at the dinner table, your options are somewhat limited. Foods such as cow’s milk, fortified soy, rice, or orange juice beverages, fatty fish, margarine, egg yolks and some fortified yogurts do contain vitamin D. However, it may be difficult to reach the recommended amount, particularly if you have any restrictions that exclude these items from your diet.
To ensure you are getting enough vitamin D, a good quality supplement (for kids or adults) can be added to your daily routine. In particular, adults with osteopenia or osteoporosis and anyone with low blood levels of vitamin D or certain dietary restrictions will benefit from this option.
While you don’t need to settle for the minimum when it comes to vitamin D, you also don’t want to overdo it. Excessive intake of vitamin D can be harmful. It is very rare to suffer from vitamin D toxicity, but it can occur with continuous megadoses over an extended period of time so it’s important to stay within your maximum daily allowance.