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Vitamin D is a hormone naturally produced by the skin in the presence of sunlight. Vitamin D levels are influenced by environmental factors, including season, latitude, time spent outdoors, cloud cover, skin tone and air quality. Individual differences in age¹, health status², skin cover, and genetic makeup³ will also affect vitamin D production and its physiological bioavailability. For North and South Americans, dietary sources of vitamin D are required throughout the year to prevent deficiency. Vitamin D supplements can help achieve this, especially for individuals at increased risk.

Vitamin D is required for mineralizing bones and teeth and increasing serum calcium and phosphorus levels; nutritional guidelines have been established based on this scientific knowledge. Research has more recently demonstrated, however, that vitamin D is also essential for normal development and functions of the neuroendocrine and immune systems, and current recommended vitamin D levels do not adequately support these systems. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with various disorders, including metabolic syndrome, cancers, and immune-mediated, psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. To ensure optimal levels of vitamin D are reached within the body, blood levels can be monitored to prevent deficiency (<50 nmol/L) and potential intoxification (>374 nmol/L)*

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The following are the minimum amounts of vitamin D a person needs per day**:

0–12 months: 10 micrograms (mcg) or 400 international units (IU)

1–70 years: 15 mcg or 600 IU

71+ years: 20 mcg or 800 IU