Author: Stephen Murdoch | Date: 12 November 2015
TORONTO, Ont. (November 12, 2015) – In order to raise awareness about the dangers of low vitamin D levels for Canadians, the Vitamin D Society has declared November Vitamin D Awareness Month.
The Canadian-based non-profit organization has been proclaiming November as Vitamin D Awareness Month since 2007. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a higher risk of serious diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and others. 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.
“November is an important time for Canadians to examine their vitamin D levels because lack of this essential vitamin can have a negative impact on every Canadian’s health – young or old, healthy or not,” said Dr. Reinhold Vieth, Scientific Advisor for the Vitamin D Society and professor at the University of Toronto.
Approximately 12 million Canadiansdo 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.
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 March. 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 increase the risk of serious health problems.
“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.”
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.
To learn more about vitamin D please visit www.vitamindsociety.org.