Almost one-third of Canadians (32%) have a vitamin D deficiency. The reasons for the low vitamin D levels range from lifestyle changes that put Canadians indoors in front of computer screens instead of outside soaking up the sun to the increasingly common practice of using sunscreen to protect against cancer-causing UV rays.
Vitamin D3 is one of the only vitamins that humans are able to synthesize from sun exposure. People mistakenly believe that a few minutes in the sun is enough to not worry about dietary sources or taking a vitamin D supplement.
Sunscreen usage, northern latitudes and even clouds and atmospheric pollution all limit the body’s ability to obtain sufficient UV rays to produce vitamin D. This explains why the number of Canadians suffering from vitamin D deficiency increases during the winter months.
If you have weak bones, are tired, depressed or notice your immune system is low, you may be exhibiting vitamin D deficiency symptoms. Try increasing your dietary intake from these vitamin D sources including fish, eggs, milk and juice fortified with vitamin D or a supplement that includes vitamin D3.
Vitamin D is both critical for the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, and for ensuring proper immune function and disease prevention. Health Canada recommends 400 IU for children under the age of 1, 600 IU for children over the age of 1 and adults, and 800 IU for adults over the age of 70.