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Are You at Risk for Low Vitamin D?

Are You at Risk for Low Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient. We generally get the vitamin D we need from the sun’s rays, which give vitamin D its nickname as the “Sunshine Vitamin.” Unfortunately, two major issues prevent most Canadians from getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D. First, modern concerns about the harmful effects of sun exposure mean that Canadians tend to limit their time in the sun. Second, Canada is a northern country with very limited amounts of sunshine during winter months. Health experts believe as many as 80% of Canadians do not get enough vitamin D during the winter months from October to March.1 Quoted in the Globe & Mail, Dr. Rohan Gunasingham stated, “Starting from now [October], if you are in Toronto, you can forget it. You will not make any vitamin D even if you go and stand outside without any clothes.”2

Insufficient vitamin D intake is associated with major diseases
How then, do we ensure we get sufficient amounts of this vitamin? Studies show that supplementation of vitamin D, specifically D3, is an effective way to obtain vitamin D.3 The costs of not getting enough vitamin D are great.

Low levels of vitamin D are associated with:

  • Over a dozen different types of malignant diseases including those of the breast, prostate, colon, pancreatic, ovaries and bowel4
  • low bone density and poor calcium absorption5
  • lowered immune modulation6
  • incidence of daytime sleepiness7
  • backaches, muscle pain and painful joint inflammation, especially in seniors1
  • low energy during winter months1
  • greater incidence of falls in the elderly8

How much vitamin D do you need?
Recent studies suggest that levels of 1,000 IU per day are required to prevent serious disease, although evidence that higher amounts above 1,500 IU may be appropriate is beginning to be investigated.3,4 Earlier this year, Health Canada increased the maximum amount of vitamin D in supplements sold over the counter from 1,000 IU to 2,500 IU per dose for adults over the age of 19. This change was driven by an increasing amount of evidence to support the safety of higher vitamin D limits.

Studies show that most Americans only get 320 IU per day and Canadians get even less sunlight because of our northern location.3 The D3 form of vitamin D, also known as cholecalciferol, is considered the most effective form, being better utilized by the body than the D2 form.

It seems like hardly a week goes by without new studies being featured in the media. Since 2020, over 300 published studies have investigated vitamin D’s potential benefits in supporting our immune system throughout the cold and flu season. Overall, research showed that individuals with adequate serum vitamin D levels were less likely to experience severe cold and flu symptoms. Some studies showed that supplementing with vitamin D even after getting sick helped to reduce symptoms by up to 90%!

Many Canadians are lacking in this “sunshine” vitamin – especially in winter months – leading to increased risk of bone weakening, inflammation and reduced immunity. Health First® offers several Vitamin D products to support all members of the family. From delicious chewable chocolate tablets, gelcaps, or to easy to use single drop doses, there is an option to support everyone through our long winter months. And like all other Health First® products, they are free from artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, and GMOs.

References:
1. “Winter robs Canadians of essential Vitamin D”, www.ctv.ca, Oct. 16, 2006
2. Mittlestaedt, Martin “Get your sunshine vitamins,” Globe & Mail, Oct. 14, 2006.
3. “Vitamin D lowers risk of breast cancer, study says”, Associated Press, April 4, 2006
4. “Low Vitamin D Levels Associated With Increased Total Cancer Incidence”, www.medicalnewstoday.com, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2006; 98:451-459)
5. “Vitamin D and the risk of falling over”, www.channelnewsasia.com, Oct. 3, 2006
6. “Vitamin D can lower cancer risk”, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4563336.stm
7. “Vitamin D lowers risk of pancreactic cancer in study”, Associated Press, Oct. 10, 2006.
8. “Vitamin D may slow breast cancer,” www.cbsnews.com Journal of Clinical Pathology, Oct. 17, 2006
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