A couple of years ago the Yukon government came out with an add campaign titled “We all need the D*” While the wording they chose is comical, it holds a lot of truth. It isn’t just our northern neighbors in the Yukon that are deficient in Vitamin D its 40% of Canadians in the winter (and 25% in the summer). We need sunlight on our skin in order to make the active form of this vital nutrient since very little comes from the food we eat. In the gloomy winter months, when the sunny days are few and far between, it is easy to become deficient.
*After an outpouring of mockery, the Yukon government changed the title of the campaign to “Vitamin D: Are you getting what you need?”
Why is vitamin D important?
• It is important for bone health. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium. This especially important for those under 18 who are still developing their skeletal systems.
• It decreases your risk of developing cancer. Studies have shown that vitamin D plays a role in the prevention of colon, prostate and breast cancer.
• It plays a role in mental health. Those with low Vitamin D status are more likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression. Optimizing Vitamin levels can greatly improve mental well-being.
• Vitamin D plays an important role in our immune system. When deficient, we are more prone to getting colds, flus and other infections.
• Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to numerous chronic conditions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and hypertension.
How do we solve this deficiency?
We can eat foods that are fortified with the active form of the vitamin (D3), but they generally don’t contain enough to restore vitamin D levels after deficiency. Supplementation with Vitamin D3 is inexpensive and easy to take; however, some people have a hard time remembering to take supplements every day (in order to be effective). If this is the case for you, you might consider coming to the IV Wellness Boutique to have it injected intramuscularly every two to three months during the winter. We can also run a blood test to see if you are deficient (and how deficient you are) so we can tailor the treatment to your individual needs!
Dr. Nicola Bennett ND
National Institute of Health
Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition