Should I take vitamin D supplements?

Vitamin D is both a vitamin we get from foods and a hormone the human body can produce through sunlight exposure. Vitamin D has many essential functions; it promotes calcium absorption from foods, is central to bone health and supports the body’s immune function and might reduce cancer cell growth.

Very few foods (such as fish oil) naturally contain vitamin D. Most vitamin D is produced through sunlight exposure. Some products available on the market, such as plant-based milk, can be fortified with vitamin D and can be a dietary source of the vitamin.

Since the human body makes most of this vitamin through sunlight exposure, people living at higher latitudes (far north/south, particularly in winter months), those who do not spend much time outdoors or who regularly and effectively use sunscreen, people wearing clothes covering most of the body or who have darker skin tones might be deficient in vitamin D. Supplementation is therefore recommended in these groups. Supplements may be needed for children and adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding moms depending on diet, sun exposure, vitamin D status, and other factors. Before taking any supplements, talk to your healthcare provider.