As many as 70% of Canadians are Vitamin D deficient. This can lead to chronic health concerns and even increase the risk of being diagnosed with certain cancers (breast, prostate and colon.) Vitamin D, also often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, has always been important to ensure optimal health. Not only does it help the body to absorb calcium, improve bone health and boost the immune system, but it is also helpful in fighting against many different diseases and health problems including Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, depression and anxiety, infertility, and chronic pain, in addition to lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease, as well as helping with weight loss.
Those who are deficient in Vitamin D may experience varying symptoms including fatigue, restlessness, poor concentration, headaches, high blood pressure, joint pain and muscle cramps, weakness, weight gain, diarrhea or constipation, and bladder problems. In order to find out if you are Vitamin D deficient, your physician may send you for a blood test or x-rays in effort to determine the strength of your bones.
Physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary at Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, British Columbia, recommend patients implement Vitamin D into their everyday lives. The current recommended dose of Vitamin D for children and adults up to the age of 50 is 200 IU per day, 400 IU per day in those aged 50 to 70, and 600 IU in individuals aged 71 or older. In those who are severely deficient in Vitamin D, higher intakes may be recommended.
While Vitamin D is found in many different supplements including multivitamins, it can also be found in certain food sources such as fish (salmon, tuna, cod liver oil), egg yolks, cheese, cow’s milk, margarine, and orange juice. For those who are vegan, Vitamin D can be found in fortified soy-milk and breakfast cereals. You can also easily obtain Vitamin D naturally with sunlight exposure – however, it is important to educate yourself on the risks of UVB rays, as overexposure has been linked to skin cancer and other heat-related illnesses. There is also such thing as getting too much Vitamin D. Supplements are usually the main cause of this, and excess Vitamin D can lead to having too much calcium in your body which can then lead to kidney damage, so it is important to pay attention to your intake.