You, Me and Vitamin D


It’s the middle of December – are you getting enough vitamin D?

If you’re like 90% of Canadians the answer is no. The fact is the majority of Canucks (not just the hockey team but all of us) will be vitamin D defiant sometime this winter.

With the daylight dwindling away to what feels like zilch Canadians just can’t get enough sunshine to make the amount of vitamin D needed for good health.

Why all the hoopla about this vitamin? Coles notes version: Vitamin D is a tool that your body needs so that your cells can talk to each other. If your cells aren’t having the right discussion with each other – things start to go amiss. Very similar to any relationship!

Aside from helping keep your bones strong and healthy, vitamin D has been linked to lower rates of breast, prostate and colon cancer and a stronger immune system, plus the winter blahs seem to be experienced less often in people whose diets include foods rich in vitamin D as well as including vitamin D supplements.

So if vitamin D can help reduce your chances of developing several different cancers and can strengthen your immune system, can this sunshine vitamin help reduce your chances of developing the flu and respiratory illnesses?

Reinhold Vieth Ph.D., Department of Nutritional Sciences, and Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, and the Director, Bone and Mineral Laboratory, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and one of the leaders in vitamin D research says that although vitamin D is not a flu shot alternative is can lessen the symptoms of seasonal flu. Vitamin D will protect your lungs from a bacterial infection making you less susceptible to pneumonia which is what people with complications of the flu usually die from.

How do you know if you are one of the 90% of Canadians that are in fact low in vitamin D? Get your doctor to check your serum levels. It’s a blood test that was free up until last year in Ontario (note to OHIP: other provinces offer the test for free).

Dr Vieth believes that everybody would benefit from taking vitamin D supplements in the winter. “There’s no harm in taking 2,000 units. For a dark-skinned person it’s appropriate to take more than that, but no one’s telling them to.”

Vitamin D is best absorbed with taken with some type of fat. I take a vitamin D supplement and the one I use is called D-Drops. It’s a Canadian company that puts the vitamin D right in the oil for you for better absorption. Check out their website

Here’s to your health!

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