Stats Canada Data: Canadians' Vitamin D Levels Declining

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The Vitamin D Society wants to make Canadians aware of the recently published Statistics Canada study, Vitamin D blood levels of Canadians, 2009-2011. The study reports that Canadians between the ages of 6 and 79 years old had overall mean vitamin D blood levels of 63.5 nmol/L; this represents a 6.2% decline from the previous report issued in 2010.

According to a new report by Statistics Canada, vitamin D levels for Canadians is declining dramatically(1). The mean average vitamin D blood levels for Canadians between the ages of 6 and 79 years of age fell sharply by 6.2% from 67.7 nmol/L in 2009(2) to just 63.5 nmol/L in 2011. This decrease is very disturbing as research studies continue to show that people with lower vitamin D levels are at a much higher risk of developing serious diseases. Just over two-thirds of Canadians (68%) had vitamin D blood levels sufficient for healthy bones (50 nmol/L). But based on the latest Stats Canada report less than 10% of Canadians reached natural optimal levels of over 100 nmol/L. Public health action programs encouraging vitamin D production from all sources are urgently needed to help reverse this steep decline.

The reduction in vitamin D levels was consistently found across all age groups and for both sexes. Children age 6 to 11 years represented the largest decline at 10.2%. The lowest levels overall were found in young adults age 20 to 39. Males had vitamin D levels generally below females for all age groups with the exception of boys aged 6 to 11.

The study found that 34% of Canadians took a vitamin D supplement and 85% of these users reached a cut-off level of 50 nmol/L compared with only 59% of people who did not take supplements. Vitamin D is unique because it can be made naturally in your skin when exposed to UVB in summer sunshine. This helped 75% of Canadians tested in the summer months to reach the 50 nmol/L cut-off versus only 60% of those tested in the winter.

A large group (42+) of prominent vitamin D doctors, researchers and scientists recommend that people achieve optimal vitamin D blood serum levels of between 100-150 nmol/L for best overall health and disease prevention(3). Studies of East Africans living naturally, with few clothes and high sun exposure, revealed that evolutionary human vitamin D levels are close to 115 nmol/L(4). This is a vitamin D level 80% higher than the new Canadian average of 64 nmol/L.

A study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research in 2010 reported that if all Canadians reached a vitamin D blood serum level of 105 nmol/L we could expect an annual reduction in healthcare costs of $14.4B(5).

The Vitamin D Society reminds Canadians to check their Vitamin D levels through a 25(OH)D blood serum test (ask for your test score) to ensure you are between the optimal levels of 100 – 150 nmol/L.

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 levels tested annually; and help fund valuable vitamin D research. The Vitamin D Society recommends Canadians achieve and maintain optimal 25(OH)D blood levels between 100 – 150 nmol/L.

For further information, please contact:

Perry Holman
Vitamin D Society



1. Janz T, Pearson C. Vitamin D blood levels of Canadians. January 2013. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-624-X

2. Langlois K, Greene-Finestone L, Litte J, Hidiroglou N, Whiting S. Vitamin D status of Canadians as measured in the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. March 2010. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003-XPE

3. GrassrootsHealth – Scientists’ Call to D*action

4. Luxwolda MF, Kuipers RS, Kema IP, Janneke Dijck-Brouwer DA, Muskiet FA. Traditionally living populations in East Africa have a mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration of 115 nmol/l. Br J Nutr. 2012 Jan 23:1-5

5. Grant WB, Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ, Whiting SJ. 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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Perry Holman
Vitamin D Society
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