Canada Issues New Vitamin D Recommendations!
Osteoporosis Canada raises the recommendation for the daily intake of vitamin D starting at 400 to 1,000 International Units (IU) for those under the age of 50. If you are over the age of 50, and have osteoporosis, then the recommendation is 800 to 2,000 IU daily (tolerable upper limit). Previous Canadian recommendations are over ten years old and were not established with the necessary dose finding studies needed to substantiate the proper daily amount.
If you live in the U.S. you're probably familiar with the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for vitamin D issued by the National Institutes of Health and the National Osteoporosis Foundation, so this Canadian announcement is important for our readers living there. Since vitamin D is a crucial supplement for good heart health, osteoporosis, diabetes, breast cancer and many other health disorders, you're undoubtedly taking this daily and having your vitamin D levels checked several times a year with a 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test.
The vitamin D experts and associations like the Vitamin D Council believe that the majority of patients are D deficient, especially if you are dark skinned, of older age, or living north of the 35th parallel. As we age, some of us have trouble assimilating D, prompting us to increase our daily oral intake. Those who live in Canada, where ultraviolet B levels of Dз are inadequate in winter, can not rely on the sun to produce this amount of this necessary vitamin, so oral supplementation should be initiated in these northern latitudes.
Some patients, who have an extreme vitamin D deficiency, will need to take a prescribed dose of D which is provided by your doctor. Prescribed doses usually come in the form of D2.
"A daily supplement of 25 mg (800 IU) should now be regarded as a minimum dose for adults with osteoporosis," David A. Hanley, MD, medical director of Grace Osteoporosis Center, University of Calgary, Canada, said in the release. "Canadians can safely take daily vitamin D supplements up to the current definition of tolerable upper intake level ... but doses above that require medical supervision."
Dз (cholecalciferol) is the preferred type of vitamin D to take, but if you need to take a much larger dose (50,000 to 150,000 IU) due to a very deficient level, you'll need to follow this advice to increase your score. Dз is available over-the-counter, and most pharmacies carry D in prescribed doses, but if your doctor wants you to take a large dose of Dз check to see if this can be ordered instead of D2 (ergocalciferol) because it is available, but it's a special order for the pharmacy.
When you are tested for vitamin D levels be sure to check what form of measuring unit is used in your area, because the reference range can be extremely different based on the type of measurement used to calculate this. In the U.S., most labs measure D in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). In other countries and some U.S. labs, this test is measured in nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and these two figures can make things very confusing when determining your normal score. Your lab results will explain your score and the measuring unit used to determine this, so you'll know for sure what your scores are.
Hopefully this new recommendation will go a long way to increase your vitamin D score which is crucial for osteoporosis and many other medical disorders.
- Endocrine Today "New vitamin D guidelines released by Osteoporosis Canada," Hanley DA.CMAJ. 2010;doi:10.1503/cmaj.080663. July 21, 2010 http://www.endocrinetoday.com/view.aspx?rid=66756
- National Osteoporosis Foundation Vitamin D: http://www.nof.org/prevention/vitaminD.htm
- Vitamin D Council Vitamin D: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/