Dr. Kristen Mitteness
Vitamin D Deficiency in Canada
Updated: Feb 25
We call vitamin D a vitamin, but it acts more like a hormone. It is fat soluble, meaning you must eat it with fat to absorb it. We can obtain it in foods like salmon, sardines, cow's milk, cod liver oil, cheese, beef liver and egg yolks. We can also convert it from sun light exposure. It helps the body use calcium and phosphorus efficiently. According to Harvard's School of Public Health, vitamin D is imperative for bone health, reducing cancer risks and controlling infections and inflammation.
A study published in 2010 in the The Royal Society for Public Health states, "Between 70% and 97% of Canadians demonstrate vitamin D insufficiency. Repletion of vitamin D3 with 2000IU/day for those not receiving judicious sun exposure and those with no contra-indications would likely achieve normalized levels in more than 93% of patients, without risk of toxicity. Explicit directives regarding vitamin D assessment and management are urgently required."
Another study, also published in 2010, estimates that if all Canadians were vitamin D sufficient, upwards of 37,000 deaths could be prevented every year. Isn't that absolutely incredible!
One of the most awesome things about vitamin D supplementation, is that it's cheap. And I'm not suggesting you take a poor quality supplement. In fact, I highly suggest you don't. But, you can get high quality vitamin d at a good price. The bang for your buck is about as good as it gets. I suggest Pure Encapsulations which you can purchase at my Fullscript online store or Metagenics.
If you're not eating the above mentioned foods or in the sunshine most days, chances are you are deficient in vitamin D. Common symptoms include fatigue, bone pain, muscle cramps or moodiness. Basically, the winter blues! Hello, vitamin D deficiency (not that this is the only cause of those symptoms). But, I and many of my patients have overcome those symptoms when we got our vitamin D levels back to a normal range. In June of 2021, I had my vitamin D levels checked and they were insufficient. I am outside often, eat beef liver and salmon on occasion and eggs regularly. I was shocked. Getting my vitamin D into a normal range (along with a few other nutrients) has resulted in me feeling much better! If you are experiencing seasonal moodiness or any of the other symptoms, I would highly recommend considering vitamin D.