Canadian’s Vitamin D Levels 72% Below 'Natural' Levels, Study Says

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The Vitamin D Society wants to inform Canadians that vitamin D deficiency during "Vitamin D Winter" will put Canadians at increased risk for many serious diseases and conditions including bone disease, various cancers, infections, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

A new study released in 2012 found that people living natural lifestyles in Tanzania have an average vitamin D blood level of 115 nmol/L(1) -- 72% higher than the average Canadian (67 nmol/L)(2). That has vitamin D experts concerned as Canadians enter "Vitamin D Winter" - the darkest time of year when vitamin D levels are their lowest.

Dr. Reinhold Vieth, a professor at the University of Toronto points out “Humans evolved in the horn of Africa, close to the equator over 30,000 years ago. They spent their days out in the full sun, with no clothing, hunting and gathering food. Their skin pigment evolved and protected them from sun burns and allowed the production of vitamin D through the skin. Nature never intended for humans to live and work indoors, in cubicles, without daily sunshine exposure. This is why it is logical we take action to ensure we achieve natural, evolutionary, vitamin D levels.”

November is Vitamin D Awareness month and we remind Canadians to check their Vitamin D levels through a 25(OH)D blood serum test (ask for your test score) and ensure they are between the optimal levels of 100 – 150 nmol/L as recommended by over 40 of the top Vitamin D researchers at GrassrootsHealth.

Canada's northerly latitudes mean natural vitamin D production outdoors is impossible for November through March, and for as long as October through April in northern parts of the country. That makes it even more critical that Canadians take immediate action for their personal health.

GrassrootsHealth’s, Carole Baggerly, urges Canadians “to increase your vitamin D intake through increased UVB exposure (natural sunshine or sunbed), fortified foods or supplements.” If UVB exposure is not readily available, Dr. Robert Heaney, recommends “75 IU of Vitamin D3 supplement per kg of weight, per day.” That would equal 6,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 supplement for the average 80 kg man. There is no risk of toxicity for vitamin D made by UVB through your skin or from supplements until intake exceeds 30,000 IU/day or vitamin D levels of 500 nmol/L (Hathcock 3)

“Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many diseases and conditions in addition to bone diseases, including many types of cancers, several bacterial and viral infections, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and adverse pregnancy outcomes,” reported Dr. William Grant. “It is imperative that Canadian’s who want to live longer and better, increase their vitamin D levels to reduce and prevent disease. My study in 2010 estimated that inadequate levels of vitamin D costs Canadians an extra $14.4B in healthcare costs annually(4).”

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    
Vitamin D Society

1.    Luxwolda MF, Kuipers RS, Kema IP, Kema IP, Janneke Dijck- Brouwer DA, Muskiet FA (2012) Traditionally living populations in East Africa have a mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration of 115 nmol/l. Br J Nutr 23:1–5
2.    Langlois K, Greene-Finestone L, Little J, Hidiroglou N, Whiting S (2010) Vitamin D status of Canadians as measured in the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 82-003-XPE Health Reports, Vol 21, no. 1, March 2010
3.    Hathcock J, Shao A, Vieth R, Heaney R (2007) Risk assessment for vitamin D. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:6-18
4.    Grant WB, Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ, Whiting SJ (2010) An estimate of the economic burden and premature deaths due to vitamin D deficiency in Canada. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2010, 54, 1172-1181

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