Vitamin D Deficiency Drains $9 billion From Canadian Health Care System

    Vitamin D Society Declares November 'Vitamin D Awareness Month' in Canada

    KELOWNA, BC, Oct. 31 /CNW/ - Research this year has left no doubt that
vitamin D deficiency - which affects an estimated 97 per cent of Canadians in
the winter - is nothing less than a Canadian crisis and a worldwide problem.
    This is why Canada's Vitamin D Society is recognizing the month of
November as the world's first Vitamin D Awareness Month.


    -  Vitamin D deficiency in Canada is a multibillion-dollar contributor to
       skyrocketing health care costs, according to a soon-to-be published
       report commissioned by the Vitamin D Society. Dr. William Grant, whose
       Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center is a leading vitamin D
       advocacy group worldwide, is the study's author. Dr. Grant
       conservatively calculates the cost of vitamin D deficiency on the
       Canadian health care system to be no less than $9 billion annually,
       based on established disease risk reduction in individuals with
       natural vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is now associated with
       higher risks of 22 forms of cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis,
       osteoporosis, flu and many other disorders.

    -  A landmark Creighton University study this year - the first-ever
       clinical trial to confirm the results of hundreds of epidemiologic
       studies on this topic - showed that people rich in vitamin D have up
       to a 77 per cent lower overall cancer risk. Published in the American
       Journal of Clinical Nutrition in June, the four-year clinical trial
       followed 1,200 women who took high levels of vitamin D and matched
       them against a control group who did not take the vitamin. Those rich
       in vitamin D had up to 77 per cent fewer cancers as compared to the
       control group. That's twice the impact on cancer risk attributed to

    -  The Canadian Paediatric Society in September recommended that pregnant
       women consult their physicians about getting 2,000 international units
       (IU) of vitamin D daily - 10 times the current government
       recommendation - based on the avalanche of new pro-vitamin D research.
       Breast milk is believed to be a poor source of vitamin D only because
       mothers typically are deficient in vitamin D, according to Dr. John
       Godel, principal author of the Canadian Paediatric Society's

    -  The Canadian Cancer Society in June called for all Canadian adults to
       get 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily. In a bold move in October, the group
       called for major medical institutions in North America to organize
       more clinical trials to further substantiate the vitamin D case.

    Long known only as the body's catalyst for proper calcium absorption,
vitamin D plays a key part in cell growth regulation in the body - a recent
discovery which explains how researchers in the past five years have
quantified the vitamin's role in the prevention of 22 forms of cancer as well
as heart disease, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and several other
    Because of the profound effects of vitamin D deficiency, the Vitamin D
Society is recognizing November in Canada as the world's first Vitamin D
Awareness Month. The message is simple:

    -  Canadians especially are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency because of
       the country's relatively weak sunshine most of the year and the fact
       that vitamin D is rare in diet, occurring naturally only in fatty
       fish. Milk typically is supplemented with vitamin D.

    -  The Vitamin D Society recommends asking your doctor for an annual
       blood test to check your vitamin D levels. More important than your
       daily intake of vitamin D is your actual vitamin D blood level, which
       can be measured with a calcidiol test (also known as a
       25-hydroxyvitamin D test). Optimal vitamin D blood levels are
       50 ng/mL (125 nmol/L), according to The Vitamin D Council.

    For more information on vitamin D visit:

    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 blood levels tested annually and fund valuable vitamin D

    MEDIA: Canadian vitamin D expert Dr. Reinhold Vieth is available for
interviews. To arrange an interview, contact Olga Petrycki at 416-360-6522
ext. 226.

For further information:

For further information: Olga Petrycki at (416) 360-6522 ext. 226

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