Vitamin D Deficiency – Oh Canada!
32% of Canadians are Deficient in Vitamin D!
Here is What You Can Do About It.
A Blog on Optimal Vitamin D Levels for Health and Wellness from a Toronto-Based Naturopathic Doctor.
North Americans and Vitamin D deficiency:
At your yearly physical your medical doctor will likely do some blood work, perhaps check vitamin B12 and Iron levels if you complain of fatigue but they don’t regularly check vitamin D levels. This is because it’s safe to assume you’re probably deficient if you live anywhere in this great north. Canadians just don’t get enough sun to support sufficient vitamin D synthesis and it is not uncommon to see deficiency even in the cottage goers and snowbirds.
The general practice guideline to remedy this widespread deficiency is to recommend every Canadian take 1000IU of vitamin D daily and 2000IU if you are at increased risk (e.g., malabsorption issues, increased age, decreased sun exposure, etc). Although this is a good general recommendation this dosage is likely not sufficient to replete levels in those with more severe deficiencies3, which again is not uncommon among North Americans.
Why Vitamin D Levels Matter:
Vitamin D plays an major role in our overall health, both short term and long term. Sufficient levels contribute to a healthy immune system, a robust heart and circulatory system, strong bones, balanced mood, and more.
Below is a list of health conditions that are associated with low vitamin D levels:
- Autoimmune conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and type I diabetes.
- Heart disease
- Type II diabetes
- Mood disorders including depression, PMS, and seasonal affective disorder
- Increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes (e.g., diabetes, preterm birth, immune conditions, etc)
Why Vitamin D testing is important:
Yes many Canadians are deficient but an important question to ask is “How deficient?” The advantage of testing vitamin D levels is that it allows us to determine if a deficiency is severe and then correct the deficiency safely and effective with high dose therapy if needed.
As outlined above, deficiency is linked with the several health conditions. In practice I have seen a clear pattern – individuals with these conditions are more likely to have a severe vitamin D deficiency. If testing is not done, we will begin low dose therapy and it is almost certain that the deficiency will go untreated. In contrast, when high dose therapy is initiated we often see an improvement in symptoms suggesting a therapeutic effect. This therapeutic effect of vitamin D is also demonstrated in medical studies.3
Needless to say vitamin D is important for overall health and wellness, disease prevention, and the treatment of conditions linked to vitamin D deficiency. If you have one of these conditions or a family history of them, checking levels becomes even more important. The easiest part about making this decision is that it only costs $40.oo to check your levels and then you can begin individualized treatment to achieve optimal levels to support your health in the short, long term, and in future generations if you’re planning to conceive!
To Check your vitamin D levels book an appointment with Dr. Kada or Dr. Hack at the Head to Toe Health Centre in Toronto!
Looking forward to working together,
Written by: Dr. Angelica Kada (07/10/2017)
- Pepper, Kara, et al. “Evaluation of vitamin D repletion regimens to correct vitamin D status in adults.” Endocrine Practice2 (2009): 95-103.
- Arnson, Yoav, Howard Amital, and Yehuda Shoenfeld. “Vitamin D and autoimmunity: new aetiological and therapeutic considerations.” Annals of the rheumatic diseases9 (2007): 1137-1142.
- Wei, Shu Qin. “Vitamin D and pregnancy outcomes.” Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology6 (2014): 438-447.
- Bischoff-Ferrari, Heike A. “Optimal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels for multiple health outcomes.” Sunlight, Vitamin D and Skin Cancer. Springer New York, 2008. 55-71.