Canadians issue new vitamin D guidelines

July 15, 2010 at 3:50 PM
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CALGARY, Alberta, July 15 (UPI) -- Canadian doctors advise adults age 50 and older to take between 800 and 2000 International Units of vitamin D daily.

Members of Osteoporosis Canada's Scientific Advisory Council, in a paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, also update the daily vitamin D supplement recommendation for Canadians age 50 and under -- without osteoporosis or conditions affecting vitamin D absorption -- to 400 to 1000 IU.

"Osteoporosis Canada's current recommendations on vitamin D intake for Canadians are more than 10 years old, and since then, there has been a lot of new and exciting research in this area," lead author Dr. David Hanley of the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine said in a statement.

Vitamin D -- essential to the treatment of osteoporosis -- promotes calcium absorption and is necessary for normal bone growth. Research suggests it may also fight infection and cancer. The vitamin is found in the diet, dietary supplements and is obtained through exposure of the skin to the sun.

"Canadians are at risk of vitamin D deficiency from October to April because winter sunlight in northern latitudes does not allow for adequate vitamin D production," Julie Foley of Osteoporosis Canada says. "Also, because vitamin D requirements for an individual may vary considerably depending on many factors, it's very important to check with your physician about how much vitamin D you should be taking."

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