Take action to prevent vitamin D deficiency this winter
For Immediate Distribution
TORONTO, Ont (October 26, 2018) – Do you know your vitamin D blood level? Most Canadians don’t, and it could be shortening their lives by leading to a higher risk of serious disease. A landmark Canadian study reports that having a vitamin D blood level below 100 nmol/L plays a role in 23,000 premature deaths in Canada every year. According to Statistics Canada, 93.3% of Canadians have levels below 100 nmol/L. So, there is a good chance that this includes you.
We celebrate Vitamin D Day on November 2nd each year as part of November Vitamin D Awareness Month to inform Canadians that their vitamin D levels plummet at this time of year as the sun can no longer make vitamin D through their skin at our northern latitude. The event started in Canada 10 years ago and is now celebrated worldwide. The NEW Vitamin D Day website has informative and interactive information to help you understand why this hormone (vitamin D) is so important to your health, similar to testosterone and estrogen.
The sun is the largest source of vitamin D for Canadians and the natural way our bodies evolved to make vitamin D. Without the sun (UVB), action will be required throughout the vitamin D deficient-winter to boost people’s vitamin D to optimal summertime levels and prevent vitamin D deficiency.
There are two primary sources of vitamin D Canadians should consider during the winter – artificial UVB exposure and vitamin D3 supplements. Note that supplements are not a complete replacement for all the benefits and photo effects provided through sunlight exposure. To maintain optimal vitamin D levels you will require an intake of up to 4,000 IU/day. Food plays a small but secondary role in vitamin D intake, with the best option being fatty fish like salmon, which have approximately 500 IU of vitamin D per serving.
Why is vitamin D important?
Dr. Samantha Kimball, a vitamin D research scientist with Pure North, in Calgary, AB, explains, “Nearly every cell in your body uses vitamin D and it influences the expression of thousands of genes. The benefits of having an optimal vitamin D level range from its role in supporting bone health to immune system function. There is evidence to suggest that vitamin D supports brain and heart function, helps with blood sugar control and muscle strength, and prevents complications of pregnancy through its actions on the placenta and immune cells. Having an optimal vitamin D level is an easy way to support its many functions throughout the body and help prevent disease.”
An expert panel of 48 vitamin D scientists have formed a consensus called D*action which recommends that everyone maintain a vitamin D blood level of between 100-150 nmol/L for optimal health. The only way you will know for sure if you have a sufficient vitamin D level is to have a 25(OH)D test. You can request this through your personal physician or purchase a home test. Remember to always get your score and compare it to the recommended level of 100-150 nmol/L. Studies have shown that people living as our ancestors did, with full-day sunshine in equatorial regions, had evolutionary vitamin D blood levels within this range.
Artificial UVB exposure can be a surrogate for summer sunshine and is obtained from most sunbeds or through special UVB lamps designed for home use. A recent Canadian study found that regular use of sunbeds with UVB similar to outdoor summer sun significantly raised participants’ vitamin D levels to the optimal range. Research has proven that a photon of light is the same whether received from sun or artificially through UVB bulbs. It has the same risks from overexposure and the same benefits such as vitamin D production.
“The current health policy limiting sun exposure may be causing more deaths and disease than its preventing. Vitamin D levels have been dropping and more people are becoming vitamin D deficient in Canada,” says Perry Holman, Executive Director for the Vitamin D Society. “We need a change in direction to encourage people to get moderate non-burning sun exposure to prevent vitamin D deficiency and reduce the risk of serious diseases.”
For more information on World Vitamin D Day on November 2nd, please visit our website at VitaminDDay.net, and help take action to reduce vitamin D deficiency.
To learn more about the Vitamin D Society, please visit www.vitamindsociety.org.
About the Vitamin D Society:
The Vitamin D Society is a Canadian non-profit group organized to increase awareness of the many health conditions strongly linked to vitamin D deficiency; encourage people to be proactive in protecting their health and have their vitamin D levels tested annually; and help fund valuable vitamin D research. The Vitamin D Society recommends people achieve and maintain optimal 25(OH)D blood levels between 100 – 150 nmol/L (Can) or 40-60 ng/ml (USA).
To learn more about vitamin D, please visit www.vitamindsociety.org
For more information, please contact:
Stephen Murdoch, Enterprise Canada, 905-346-1230 firstname.lastname@example.org