In an effort to fight osteoporosis, Canadian researchers update vitamin D guidelines

It has long been known that individuals who spend time indoors, use sunscreen, or live in high latitudes are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to health complications, including osteoporosis. With this in mind, Canadian researchers have released updated guidelines on recommended vitamin D intake, especially in northern populations.

The guidelines, which were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, call for daily supplements of 400 to 1000 international units (IU) for adults under the age of 50 who are osteoporosis-free. Those older than 50 should make sure to take between 800 and 2000 IU.

“There has been a lot of new and exciting research in this area," said Dr David Hanley, professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine, and member of Osteoporosis Canada's (OC) Scientific Advisory Council.

He added that “because of these research advances, we felt it was time to update OC's 2002 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the treatment and management of osteoporosis."

Vitamin D is key to preventing osteoporosis because it helps the body absorb calcium that ensures bone strength. However, recent research has also found that the nutrient may boost immunity and reduce the risk of cancers and cardiovascular disease.

In addition to sunshine exposure and supplements, vitamin D can also be obtained from dietary sources such as eggs, milk, and fish.