Shining a light on need to boost vitamin D levels in Canada
Posted by, Vitamin D Day on 31 Oct, 2014
TORONTO, Ont. (October 31, 2014) – As winter draws closer and our daylight hours grow shorter, Canadians are being urged to take steps to protect their health by maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D.
To mark Vitamin D Awareness Month in November, The Vitamin D Society is spreading the word about the importance of proper vitamin D levels and the affect it has on our everyday health.
On Tuesday, November 4 in Toronto the non-profit organization is hosting the Vitamin D Consensus Workshop, featuring several international medical experts. Representatives from key disease organizations have been invited to attend to help develop a Canadian Vitamin D Consensus that can be used to educate Canadians on the importance of optimal vitamin D levels for health. The workshop comes shortly after World Vitamin D Day on November 2.
“Due to Canada’s northern latitude, Canadians cannot get sufficient levels of vitamin D through sunshine from November to May,” said workshop presenter Dr. Reinhold Vieth, retired director of the Bone and Mineral Laboratory at Mount Sinai Hospital and a professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. “Low levels of vitamin D can create a higher risk of serious diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and others.”
Approximately 14 million Canadians —40% of us — do not meet vitamin D blood level requirements set by Health Canada and the Institute of Medicine.
In a recent research study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Western University researchers found that only 8% of participants correctly identified the recommended vitamin D intake and only 14% correctly identified the amount of time in the sun required to produce adequate vitamin D.
Compounding the problem, more people work indoors and spend less time outdoors than at any previous time in history. In addition, when people are outside, many use sunscreens which, if applied as directed, can significantly prevent the production of vitamin D in the skin. As a result, many Canadians experience decreasing vitamin D levels and the risk of serious health implications.
“Canadians are generally puzzled about vitamin D because there are many different recommendations for vitamin D intake levels. A lot of Canadians are also confused about sunshine exposure and worried about the risk of skin cancer,” said Dr. Vieth. “We need to do more to increase knowledge about proper vitamin D levels to help Canadians enjoy better health.”
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).