TORONTO, May 12 /CNW/ - It's time to take a common sense approach to UVB light exposure primarily because moderate UVB light exposure year round will help solve Canada's vitamin D deficiency epidemic, says Dr. Zoltan Rona, a Toronto doctor specializing in complementary and alternative medicine.
"All cells, tissues and organs in the body have vitamin D receptors, meaning they await the arrival of the vitamin to perform various vital functions," said Dr. Rona. A recent Statistics Canada survey found 65 per cent of Canadians are vitamin D deficient. "I believe the actual number is much higher. In my own practice, over 90 per cent of my new patients are vitamin D deficient."
A study published last month in the peer reviewed Molecular Nutrition & Food research journal, An Estimate of the Economic Burden and Premature Deaths Due to Vitamin D Deficiency in Canada showed vitamin D deficiency is contributing to 37,000 deaths per year in Canada.
In his new book, Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin, Dr. Rona recommends Canadians consider using a sunbed that emits UVB light during the winter months to maintain healthy vitamin D blood levels.
He says Canada must overcome its case of sunphobia - a condition imposed on the population by sun paranoid dermatologists who are paid to promote sunscreens and telling Canadians to spend too much time indoors due to the fear of aging from sun damage, as contributing factors to vitamin D deficiency. "The truth is that the benefits of ultraviolet light have been underestimated while its dangers have been grossly exaggerated", said Dr. Rona "It's not too late to return to some balance as it relates to our relationship with the sun."
Because of the country's northern latitudes, Canadians can't produce vitamin D naturally from the sun for four to six months of the year.
"We need to re-examine our current condemnation of all UV exposure. The health implications of vitamin D deficiency caused by anti sun messaging have put our health at risk. This needs to change. Due to its relationship with UVB light and its ability to produce vitamin D the skin could turn out to be the body's most important organ as it relates to disease prevention," Dr. Rona said.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
"Human beings evolved under ultraviolet light. This is the way our bodies were biologically designed to produce vitamin D and it is a mistake to ignore this. In Canada we are unable to produce adequate vitamin D from sunlight six months of the year," Dr. Rona said. "For this reason, all sources of vitamin D need to be utilized. If you can't bask in the summer sun, then jump into a tanning bed or take a supplement to get your vitamin D levels up," he added.
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