As our daylight grows shorter, our bodies change with the decrease in sunlight. A common issue among Canadians is the lack of Vitamin D. On today's To Your Health, more on how you can boost your Vitamin D intake and why its important over the winter months.
(Announcer:) And now, "To Your Health". Brought to you by Hart Drugs, Third Avenue Pharmacy and the Phoenix Pharmacy.
(Catherine Hansen - Reporting:) It works with calcium and phosphorus to support strong bones and teeth, and has been known to help prevent heart disease and cancer. Vitamin D is essential, and those of us living in the north simply don't get enough over the winter months.
(Flo Sheppard - Northern Health, Dietician:) "Typically the best source of vitamin D is actually through the sun, that's why its called the sunshine vitamin. The thing to remember is that where we are situated in the north in terms of the latitude, we don't actually make vitamin D from the sun from October to the very end of April, so it's really important when you are looking at ensuring you are getting enough vitamin D in your diet."
(Hansen:) With only six months of exposure through sunshine, supplements are necessary. Fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon are a good dietary source, and a number of food products are fortified with vitamin D, including margarine, some juice and milk.
(Sheppard:) "Fluid cows milk has vitamin D fortification throughout all the provinces of Canada, so consistently we know that we are getting vitamin d within that. Typically it is added to soy milk, but it isn't always consistently added to other plant-based milk, so you want to really check the label. Health Canada is also looking at adding vitamin D to other foods, but it isn't always consistent."
(Hansen:) Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Too little vitamin D can pose health risks including increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, severe asthma, and cancer.
(Patrick Dinelle - Pharmacist:) "Between the different types of supplement form, the drops and capsules have slightly better and quicker absorption compared to the tablets. But either way, as long as you're getting the appropriate amount of units, you should be getting some benefit. Vitamin D is recommended with food. It's what you call a fat soluble vitamin, so that food will help increase how much our body will absorb."
(Hansen:) Whether its through a glass of milk or in the form of a supplement, daily requirements vary. Health Canada recommends 400 international units for infants, and up to 800 for adults over 70. To your health, Catherine Hansen, CKPG News.
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