Vitamin D

how it works
  • Our bodies make vitamin D using energy from the sun. However, in Canada we need to get our vitamin D from food and supplements. This is because we do not get much sunshine in the winter and we use sunscreen in the summer. These both prevent our skin from absorbing vitamin D.
  • Works with calcium to help maintain healthy bones and teeth
Vitamin D
  • Full-term infants who are breastfeeding or who have less than 1000 mL (4 cups) of infant formula need a supplement of 400 IU each day.
  • Infants in the Canadian far north need 800 IU a day from October to April.
  • People whose skin is not exposed to the sun, for example if they work indoors, wear long robes or head coverings or live in northern Canada, need to carefully choose vitamin D-rich foods or take a supplement of 200-400 IU a day.
  • Ask your doctor about a supplement if you have any digestive system or other conditions that cause you to absorb lower amounts of vitamin D from food.

Original author:
Theresa Couto, RD
Reviewed by:
Elly Berger, BA, MD, FRCPC, FAAP, MHPE
Francy Pillo-Blocka RD, FDC


Caring for Kids (2012). Vitamin D. Ottawa: Canadian Paediatric Society.

Godel, J.C. (2007). Vitamin D supplementation: Recommendations for Canadian mothers and infants. Paediatr Child Health 2007; 12 (7); 583-9 (position statement reaffirmed January 2013) 

Health Canada (2005). Reference Values for Vitamins​ – Dietary Reference Intakes Tables. Ottaway: Government of Canada.

Saab, J. & Kalnins, D. (2010). Better Food for Kids. Second Edition. The Hospital for Sick Children.