With Canadian Vitamin D levels dropping year after year, the Vitamin D Society is kicking off its 8th Annual Vitamin D Awareness Month with Vitamin D Day on Nov 2nd to help spread the message across the country.
The Vitamin D Society is using the month to bring vitamin D deficiency to light for Canadians who may not understand the affects that a lack of vitamin D can have on the human body.
“Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a higher risk of serious diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and others,” says Dr. Gerry Schwalfenberg, Scientific Advisor for the Vitamin D Society and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Alberta. “The month of November is crucial for Canadians because it is the start of our vitamin D winter. The low angle of the sun means that sunlight no longer produces vitamin D in our skin, therefore it’s important to examine your vitamin D levels to ensure your body isn’t at risk.”
Approximately 12 million Canadians do not meet vitamin D blood level requirements of 50 nmol/L set by Health Canada and the Institute of Medicine. This figure rises to 14 million —40 per cent of us — during winter months. The Vitamin D Society recommends that Canadians raise their mean level of vitamin D higher, to at least 100 nmol/L year-round to receive the full benefits of the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D Day is a chance for Canadians to join the pledge to increase vitamin D levels.
“People wonder why so many Canadians are vitamin D deficient and it’s simple really. We mainly get vitamin D from non-burning sun exposure, but Canadians are now living indoor lifestyles more than ever, even in the summer,” says Perry Holman, Executive Director for the Vitamin D Society. “When we avoid the sun, our vitamin D levels are going to be much lower than they should be. With winter fast approaching, and Canadians spending more time indoors, it’s vital that everyone take action to ensure their vitamin D levels don’t drop until it’s nice enough to get back outside and enjoy the sun.”
For vitamin D intake during winter months, the Vitamin D Society recommends Canadians use artificial UVB sources or supplements. When spring returns, Canadians can go back to getting their vitamin D from non-burning exposure to the sun.
Canadians can get their vitamin D levels checked by their physicians, or online, through a simple 25(OH)D blood test to ensure they aren’t deficient. Make sure your score is between 100-150 nmol/L.