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Tuesday, 04 October 2016 20:15

Should Canadians supplement Vitamin D?

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            Canadians should look at their vitamin D intake, saysthe Vitamin D Society of Canada after a recent British report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition urged vitamin D supplements in that country.

            Because of the northern latitude of both Britain and Canada, vitamin D producing sunlight can only be captured by our skin between

the months of May and October, argues the society. This leaves Canadians and Brits in the cold and with declining levels over fall and winter.

            The vitamin plays an important role in regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body—making it essential for bone health and more. Low vitamin D levels means bones can become thin and brittle.

            The British report shows that vitamin D “intakes are low and status is one of the poorest,” says Dr. Susan Whiting, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan and scientific advisor for the Vitamin D Society.

            “Modest fortification with vitamin D in Canada has prevented us from having so much severe vitamin D deficiency as is the situation in the UK right now,” she added. “But diet alone in neither country can allow us to achieve optimal vitamin D status especially in winter months.”

            Statistics Canada reports that up to 12 million Canadians—35 percent of us—do not meet vitamin D blood level requirements. That number rises to more than 40 percent in winter.

            The summer sun allows most Canadians and Brits to naturally generate adequate levels of vitamin D, but according to the Vitamin D Society, come winter, that won’t be possible. The solution to keeping levels normal in winter, is vitamin D supplements or artificial ultraviolet B exposure (ultraviolet radiation with wavelengths between 290 and 320 nanometers, in case you were wondering).

            The Vitamin D Society (vitamindsociety.org) is a Canadian non-profit group to raise awareness of vitamin D deficiency health concerns and to help fund vitamin D research.

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