TORONTO --- November 18, 2011 --- The clocks have turned back an hour and Canadians are receiving less exposure to daylight. November is Vitamin D Awareness month in Canada and serves as a timely reminder for people of all ages to test their vitamin D levels to ensure they aren’t dropping. With a decrease in UVB exposure, now is the time to check and make certain that optimal vitamin D levels are maintained through the long, cold, low light Canadian winters.
Leading Canadian medical and health organizations like The Ontario Society of Physicians for Complementary Medicine are encouraging support of optimal vitamin D levels through the endorsement of the Scientists Call to D*action.
The Scientists Call to D*action represents the collective position of over 40 vitamin D scientists and was created by GrassrootsHealth to alert the public of the importance of having vitamin D blood serum levels of between 100-150 nmol/L to prevent disease. Implementing this level is both safe and inexpensive. Other participating organizations include The Section of Complementary and Integrative Medicine of the Ontario Medical Association; Direct-MS and InspireHealth. See www.grassrootshealth.net for complete statement.
When testing your vitamin D levels ask for your blood test score and compare your level to the optimal vitamin D levels of 100-150 nmol/L. If, like more than 90 per cent of Canadians (Stats Canada 2010) your score is lower than the optimal levels, take immediate action to increase your vitamin D intake.
In addition to several cancers, vitamin D deficiency also puts you at greater risk for osteomalacia, rickets, falls, tuberculosis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type-1 diabetes, high blood pressure and increased heart failure. It is projected that the incidence of many of these diseases could be reduced by 20 – 50 per cent or more, if the occurrence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were eradicated by increasing vitamin D intakes through increased UVB exposure, fortified foods or supplements.
Around the country organizations are united to combat vitamin D deficiencies; the following are a few examples:
Vitamin D Day
We applaud the encouraging efforts of InspireHealth in Vancouver, BC who organized the proclamation of Vitamin D Day in over 20 communities in Canada on November 2. According to a news release issued by www.inspirehealth.ca, Dr. Hal Gunn MD, CEO and co-founder of InspireHealth is quoted as saying, "we simply have to do more to engage people in this simple, safe approach to cancer prevention and treatment. The time has arrived for nationally-coordinated action to substantially increase intakes of vitamin D."
Congratulations to Fraser Health, the largest regional health organization in BC, which recently became the first health authority in Canada to implement a vitamin D protocol in residential care facilities. According to a news release issued by www.fraserhealth.ca, Fabio Feldman, Manager of Seniors Falls and Prevention was quoted saying, “it’s estimated that vitamin D supplements can prevent between 10-25% of falls that currently happen in residential care facilities.” Feldman goes on to say, “the vitamin D protocol, which is optional for all residents of residential care facilities within Fraser Health, calls for a 20,000 IU weekly dosage of vitamin D, which is an adequate, safe and effective dosage.”
"The new vitamin D protocol being implemented at residential care facilities across Fraser Health is a positive step in helping our seniors stay active and independent," said Dr. Nigel Murray, CEO of Fraser Health in a recent news release distributed by the organization. "We know that seniors with fall-related injuries tend to stay in hospital twice as long as seniors hospitalized for all other reasons. This protocol will help to decrease falls and keep seniors in their own homes," Murray added.
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 Canadians to be proactive in protecting their health and have their vitamin D blood levels tested annually and fund valuable vitamin D research.
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For further information, please contact:
Perry Holman or Jessica Patriquin
Vitamin D Society PUNCH Canada
877-520-4867 416-360-6522 ext. 245