Do we really need to supplement Vitamin D?

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Do we really need to supplement Vitamin D?

 naturopath vitamin D

February is upon us and this is time of year everyone is considering a trip down south. We have the urge to find sunlight to brighten our day. But does the addition of a Vitamin D supplement to our diet really help? Do we still need this supplement in the summertime?


Vitamin D is an important part of our life. Almost every cell in our body detects vitamin D. It helps with:

  • Bone growth
  • Risk of fall (reduce risk of hip fracture by 25%)
  • Maintain strength
  • Fighting off infection
  • Boost your immune system
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer symptoms
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis


But do we need to supplement it at all?

We need approximately 15 minutes outside in direct sunlight during the peak hours of 12pm-3pm with our hands, arms, legs and head exposed without the application of sunscreen. This would expose you to enough sunlight to produce 1,000IU of vitamin D per day. This time of year, there is not much sunlight during the day. And with the colder temperatures, rarely do we have enough skin exposed in the winter to create enough vitamin D. In the winter, we absolutely need to supplement vitamin D to help ward off a lot of the conditions listed above. With seasonal affective disorder being the most common, and 1 in 3 Canadians having a deficiency in Vitamin D, it explains why most of it feel a loss of energy in the middle of winter.

In the summer months, you can ask yourself the same question. Are you getting 15 minutes of sunlight during peak hours of the day with a lot of skin exposed? Many of us will answer no. We are working during the day, are covering up with sunblock, or have clothes on that do not show enough skin. This is the reason that supplementation of vitamin D should continue in the summertime for most people.

People especially at risk of deficiency are not only those who spend a lot of the day inside, but also those with dairy restrictions, gallbladder concerns, digestive disturbances, darker complexion, chronic disease, elderly, the list goes on.

We can get vitamin D from the food we eat, but not to the level we need. Fatty fish and eggs are a great place to begin but will not be enough to fill our needs. Most supplements will contain 1000IU of vitamin D per serving. This is the amount the average Canadians needs for optimal levels. Another important point to help the absorption of vitamin D is knowing what to mix it with. We often hear people that will take the vitamin D with their other supplements or medication but what it needs is to be mixed with a fat. Vitamin D is fat soluble and requires a fat to carry it into our body for use. That is why the combination with a healthy fat, specifically omega 3, is a great combination for a healthy routine.

 For more helpful tips or to book a consultation, Dr. Ashley Girard, a Naturopathic doctor can be reached at the office.