Health Canada is aware of the growing body of evidence on the role of vitamin D in relation to health. While a number of independent recommendations concerning vitamin D intake have been issued by various organizations, Health Canada believes these recommendations are premature and that a comprehensive review that looks at both benefits and safety needs to be undertaken before the Department can issue a revised recommendation.
The United States Institute of Medicine (IOM) establishes nutrient reference values which are used by Health Canada to set policies and standards. Until an update of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for vitamin D is issued by the IOM, Health Canada continues to recommend 200 IU of vitamin D per day for adults 19 to 50 years of age, including pregnant and lactating women. All Canadians are encouraged to follow the advice contained in Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide, which recommends that all Canadians over the age of two consume 500 mL (two cups) of milk every day for adequate vitamin D and in addition encourages everyone over the age of 50 to take a daily supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D. We also urge Canadians to continue to eat well and to be active every day to reduce their risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Health Canada recognizes that there is significant evidence that has emerged since the IOM established recommendations for vitamin D in 1997. We will continue to work closely with the United States Department of Health and Human Services to determine how best to update the DRIs, including those for vitamin D.
Health Canada would like to remind Canadians that there are health risks associated with taking too much vitamin D and they should not exceed the Tolerable Upper Intake Level set for adults at 2000 IU/day from all sources of vitamin D, including milk and over the counter supplements. If you want more information about vitamin D, speak with your health care professional.