Vitamin D Day on Nov. 2 highlights world health problem

Organizations raising awareness to curb vitamin D deficiency

TORONTO, Ont. (October 28, 2015) – As Canadians prepare to batten down the hatches for another cold, dark winter, The Vitamin D Society is shining a light on the dangerous health implications of getting too little vitamin D.

The Canadian-based non-profit organization’s warning comes as it encourages health groups across the globe to mark World Vitamin D Day on November 2nd by joining their Thunderclap. The initiative is part of a broader education campaign during Vitamin D Awareness month in November to highlight the growing problem of vitamin D deficiency to the public.

“We need to do more to raise awareness and increase knowledge about proper vitamin D levels to help Canadians enjoy better health,” said Dr. Reinhold Vieth, Scientific Advisor for the Vitamin D Society and professor at the University of Toronto. “Vitamin D deficiency can easily and inexpensively be eradicated through supplements and safe sun exposure, thereby improving the quality of life for many people.”

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 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% of us — during winter months.

But many researchers and scientists use even more stringent benchmarks to gauge optimal levels of vitamin D.

“How many people are vitamin D deficient in Canada is relative to what you are measuring their levels to,” said Perry Holman, Executive Director for the Vitamin D Society. “Comparing Canadian levels to what is being recommended for disease prevention by scientists such as Dr. Vieth, of 100-150 nmol/L, shows that 90% of Canadians are really deficient for diseases purposes.”

Safe sun exposure is the main source for our bodies to absorb UVB rays and generate vitamin D. However, due to Canada’s northern latitude, Canadians cannot get sufficient levels of vitamin D through sunshine from November to May. 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 Canadian experience decreasing vitamin D levels and the risk of serious health problems.

The Vitamin D Society urges Canadians to have their vitamin D levels checked by their physicians through a simple blood test to ensure they aren’t deficient. Get your test score and compare to the level scientists recommend.

“During the winter when the sun isn’t strong enough in Canada for our bodies to generate vitamin D, it’s very important to get it through other sources, such as vitamin D3 supplements, fortified foods, or artificial UVB exposure,” Dr. Reinhold Vieth said. “When spring returns, Canadians can go back to getting their vitamin D by safe exposure to the sun.”

To learn more about vitamin D, and join our Thunderclap please visit www.vitamindsociety.org www.vitamindday.net and www.thunderclap.it

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).

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 For more information, please contact:

Stephen Murdoch, 905-346-1232, smurdoch@enterprisecanada.com