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Vitamin D Day is Catching on!

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA —  Dr. James Lunney, MP for Nanaimo-Alberni attended the latest campaign to further public knowledge about the benefits of Vitamin D. The Ottawa Vitamin D Disease Prevention Symposium was held to help educate healthcare professionals and individuals about the value of this cost effective health measure.

Dr. Lunney’s Bill C-388, which designates November 2 as Vitamin D Day, is currently making its way through the House of Commons.

“The initiative began at Vancouver’s Inspire Health, an integrative cancer care facility on the West Coast.  Vancouver was the first Municipality make a proclamation in 2009 declaring November 2 as Vitamin D day, and now 20 other municipalities across Canada have done likewise including Victoria, Whistler, Pickering, Bathurst and St. John’s. Now it is time to join with others to spread awareness on the merits of Vitamin D.  We even see international groups in other countries pushing their own local health organizations to follow this Canadian idea!” said Lunney.

The evening featured Dr. Robert Heaney, Professor of Medicine at Creighton University, Omaha.  Heaney is author of three books and has published over 400 original papers. The major theme of his work has been to clarify how much vitamin D is necessary to produce the nutrient’s effect on calcium absorption, how much vitamin D is metabolized each day, how much is synthesized in the skin, the degree to which skin pigmentation modifies that synthesis and how much vitamin D is stored.

Heaney commented, “If we can correct the (low) Vitamin D status among populations we will reduce the burden of chronic disease. It’s safe, inexpensive and is likely to yield enormous health benefits.”

Also joining the symposium was medical researcher and writer, Dr. Oliver Gillie, of the Health Research Forum, UK. The aim of the UK initiative is to develop an up-to-date public health policy based on scientific evidence.  Dr. Marc Sorenson, EdD, founder of the National Institute of Fitness and author of several books, highlighted the benefits of sunlight and Vitamin D and has lectured throughout much of the world.

Over 3000 research articles have been published linking elevated Vitamin D levels with lower cancer levels.  A July 2009 study published in The Annals of Epidemiology, estimates tens of thousands of new cases of breast cancer and colorectal cancer and three quarters of the deaths from these diseases could be prevented in Canada and the US.  Abundant research indicates elevating Vitamin D levels would reduce the incidence of chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes, MS, cardiovascular diseases, viral infections and cancer.  The Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 2010, estimates elevating blood levels of Vitamin D3 to 100 – 150 nmols per litre would save $14.4 billion in health care costs per year in Canada.

Lunney commented, “Canadian and International researchers have identified low blood levels of Vitamin D as a significant risk factor in the development of chronic disease. I am pleased to take part in events such as this that empower people with the knowledge they need to help them obtain optimal health.”

“Celebrating a ‘National Vitamin D Day’ is a way to encourage public participation in personal health promotion and disease prevention.  Vitamin D: Are you getting yours?”