Addressing vitamin D deficiency in Canada: a public health innovation whose time has come

Public Health. 2010 Jun;124(6):350-9. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2010.03.003. Epub 2010 Apr 21.


There is disturbing evidence of widespread vitamin D deficiency in many population groups, particularly within nations at high latitude. Numerous recent studies in the scientific literature associate vitamin D deficiency with a colossal increase in morbidity and mortality. Since Canada is at higher latitude, this review assesses the vitamin D status within the Canadian population. This review was prepared by assessing available medical and scientific literature from Medline, as well as by reviewing several books and conference proceedings. A standard 25(OH)D level of 75-80nmol/l or more was used to indicate vitamin D sufficiency. Between 70% and 97% of Canadians demonstrate vitamin D insufficiency. Furthermore, studies assessing 25(OH)D levels of vitamin D at 25-40nmol/l reveal that many Canadians have profoundly deficient levels. Repletion of vitamin D3 with 2000IU/day for those not receiving judicious sun exposure and those with no contra-indications would likely achieve normalized levels in more than 93% of patients, without risk of toxicity. Explicit directives regarding vitamin D assessment and management are urgently required.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / immunology
  • Vitamin D / physiology
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / ethnology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / therapy*


  • Vitamin D