Why did Health Canada increase the maximum vitamin D dose?

 vitamin D

For the first time in many years, Health Canada has changed the official maximum vitamin D dose allowed by supplement companies. Health Canada rarely changes their recommended vitamin doses, so this change surprised many people. What does the increase in dosage mean for us? As of February 24, 2021, we are now allowed to buy over-the-counter vitamin D supplements that are 2500 IU. Previously, we were only able to buy supplements that contained a maximum of 1000 IU. Soon, natural health brands will be releasing new, upgraded versions of their vitamin D supplements.

Is this new dose safe?

Although 2500 IU may seem like a big jump from the previous recommended dose, this increase has been a long time coming. In the US, vitamin D supplements up to 10, 000 IU are sold over the counter regularly. Evidence that supports the safety of allowing higher vitamin D limits has been collected for many years. Health Canada has been receiving requests from consumers, physicians, and the natural supplement industry for a long time, and it’s finally been approved, finally.

To note, the maximum dose of vitamin D allowed does not represent the maximum amount of vitamin D you can take in one day before reaching toxicity. Instead, it “represents the highest average daily intake of a nutrient that is likely to pose no risk of adverse effects in the general population”, according to Health Canada. As such, it is the maximum dose of vitamin D you can legally buy in Canada, without a doctor’s prescription. However, if your doctor has used a blood test and concluded your vitamin D levels to be low, they can certainly prescribe you a dose higher than 2500 IU.

Who is at risk for vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D is a unique nutrient. Although we can consume it through our diet, our primary source comes from the sun’s UV rays. As the rays hit your skin, the inactive vitamin D in your skin cells are converted to the active form. In order for this conversion to occur, you must be outside during the sun’s strongest hours, and be mostly uncovered. Both clothing and sunscreen can prevent your skin from making vital vitamin D.

You may be a risk of vitamin D deficiency if you:

  • Rarely spend time outdoors
  • Are living in an institution like a care home
  • Usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when you’re outdoors
  • Have darker skin
  • Live in a country where the winter months are long

How to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D year-round

To prevent vitamin D deficiency, the most important step is to determine your reason for the deficiency. If you don’t go outside frequently, you may choose to make a daily routine of taking walks outdoors every morning. If the culprit is something that cannot be changed, such as having darker skin or being confined indoors, you may consider adding a daily vitamin D supplement.

The most bioavailable vitamin D supplements contain a fat source as an added ingredient. Because vitamin D itself is fat-soluble, pairing the vitamin with a fat enhances its absorption. Popular pairings include coconut oil, MCT oil and sunflower oil. If you can’t stand the taste of oil as a supplement, emulsified liquids or softgels are just as effective.

Best options: Genestra D3 K2 Mulsion 20mL, CanPrev Vitamin D3 & K2 + MCT 120 Softgels

The superstar vitamin

Whether you chose to increase your time outdoors in the sunlight or add a new supplement to your regime, the benefits of vitamin D have been evident year after year. You can rely on vitamin D to balance your immune system, keep your teeth and bones strong and regulate your hormones. Health Canada’s increase assures us that vitamin D is an important supplement to consider – try it and you’ll see!

Author

Grace Tien is a women’s health holistic nutritionist. She helps her clients optimize their nutrition habits so that they can get rid of afternoon slumps and live each day full of energy. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Share: