Order Guide: Vitamin D

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in bone metabolism, and regulation of the immune system, with possible roles in protecting against cancer, heart disease, auto-immune disease and depression. Vitamin D supplementation has been demonstrated to be associated with a lower risk of overall death. [1] Approximately 1 in 3 Canadians have levels below 50 nmol/L, with higher rates of low levels in the winter months (40% below normal levels). [3]

How do I get Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is made through exposure to sunlight - specifically through UVB exposure. Other sources of vitamin D include fish like salmon, mackerel and fortified beverages (i.e. cow’s milk or some types of fortified almond milk).

What are common foods containing Vitamin D?

The following is a list of the most common foods containing vitamin D. Many of these items do not have
  • Soy Beverage (enriched)
  • Milk (all types)
  • Snapper
  • Salmon
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Salmon
  • Orange Juice (fortified)
  • Tuna
  • Egg Yolk
Age Group
Recommended Dietary Allownace Per Day
Tolerable Upper Intake Limit Per Day
Adults 18-70
600 IU (15mcg)
4000IU (100mcg)
Pregnancy and Lactation
600 IU (15mcg)
4000IU (100mcg)

What are the benefits of supplementing with Vitamin D?

  • Cancer - many studies have found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and higher rates of cancer, specifically colorectal cancer. Higher levels seem to reduce the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer, with supplementation within recommended guidelines.
  • Heart Disease - an important study, the Framingham Heart Study found that patients with low vitamin D had a 60% higher rate of heart disease than those with higher levels.
  • Hypertension/Diabetes - higher levels of vitamin D have correlated with better glucose control
  • Fracture and fall risk - lower vitamin D levels are correlated with a higher rate of fracture and falls and is responsible for muscle weakness

How much should I take?

Osteoporosis Canada recommends adults 19-50 require 400-1000IU Vitamin D daily. Those over 50 should receive 800-2000IU daily.

Should I be tested for vitamin D?

Choosing Wisely guidelines do not recommend routine screening for everyone for vitamin D levels. For individuals at higher risk of low vitamin D (i. obesity, dark skin colour, a history of osteoporosis, malabsorption disorder, age > 70 or limited mobility) screening is recommended. However, we believe everyone should have access to testing their Vitamin D levels.

Is Vitamin D testing covered by OHIP?

TeleTest currently only offers vitamin D testing as an uninsured test. If you have a history of osteoporosis, osteopenia or are on a medication that affects vitamin D absorption like some seizure medication, vitamin D can be obtained as an insured test and we would recommend going to a local clinic for an insured requisition.

Resources

[1] Autier P, Gandini S. Vitamin D supplementation and total mortality: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:1730–7
[2] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11727-eng.htm
[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30945275/