For Immediate Distribution
TORONTO, Ont (October 26, 2017) – Canadians’ vitamin D levels continue to plummet, according to the latest report from Statistics Canada. Vitamin D levels for Canadians, aged six to 79, have dropped by 13% in the last six years and show no signs of improvement. Fourteen million Canadians do not meet Health Canada’s vitamin D blood level requirements of 50 nmol/L. This figure rises to 15 million —40 per cent of us — during winter months.
The Vitamin D Society has proclaimed November as Vitamin D Awareness month since 2009 and is working with the Vitamin D Council from the US to celebrate Vitamin D Day on November 2nd. Vitamin D Day is a day for Canadians to learn about the importance of vitamin D for good health and to take action to ensure that they have optimal vitamin D blood levels.
Dr. Gerry Schwalfenberg, an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Alberta who also has a clinical patient practice, has published numerous papers calling attention to this disturbing vitamin D deficiency problem.
“I see patients’ vitamin D levels start to drop at this time of the year when sunlight does not contain sufficient UVB to make vitamin D in your skin,” he says. “Without immediate corrective action through supplementation or artificial UVB exposure, these people will be vitamin D deficient until next summer or longer if they avoid the sun. This leads to a higher risk of many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and also infections such as colds and flu.”
Percentage of Canadians with vitamin D levels below:
- 50 nmol/L the level recommended by Health Canada – 38.2%
- 75 nmol/L the level recommended for bone health by Osteoporosis Canada – 77.4%
- 100 nmol/L the level recommended by 48 vitamin D scientists and doctors – 93.3%
Dr. Schwalfenberg was a co-author on a new study which found that if Canadians raised their vitamin D blood levels to an optimal level of 100 nmol/L, it would prevent 23,000 premature deaths and save $12.5B annually in direct health care costs. The study found that sun exposure is recognized as a key factor influencing vitamin D concentrations.
Many people do not know their vitamin D level. Canadians can get their vitamin D levels checked by their physicians, or online, through a simple 25(OH)D blood test to ensure they aren’t deficient. Make sure your score is in the range between 100-150 nmol/L.
“Vitamin D deficiency is a sunlight deficiency. To reverse the downward trend of vitamin D levels for Canadians requires a change of public attitude and health policy towards sun exposure,” says Perry Holman, Executive Director for the Vitamin D Society. “We need to stop demonizing sun exposure and provide people with a complete balanced assessment of the risks and benefits involved.”
To learn more about the Vitamin D Society, please visit www.vitamindsociety.org.
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).
To learn more about vitamin D, please visit www.vitamindsociety.org
For more information, please contact:
Stephen Murdoch, Enterprise Canada, 905-346-1230 [email protected]