Studies by Garland and other medical researchers have shown the tremendous economic cost of vitamin D deficiency in America. For example, studies published in 2004 estimated that vitamin D deficiency costs the United States from $40-$56 billion annually. It is estimated that every year there are 60,000 premature deaths from cancer caused by insufficient vitamin D in the United States.
Now, for the first time, a study on the economic burden of vitamin D deficiency in Canada has been published. It is especially important for Canada to pay attention to their population's vitamin D levels because most of the Canadian population lives north of the 43rd parallel. Because of this, making vitamin D from sun UVB radiation is impossible for at least 4 to 5 months of the year. ("Vitamin D Winter")The Canadian diet provides about 200 IU of D from food every day, which is not enough to maintain normal blood levels. Therefore the people of Canada should all be taking supplementary Vitamin D for at least those winter months.
This article was written by William B. Grant and others. The authors carefully searched the medical literature for articles that showed the dose-response relationships for vitamin D and disease outcomes. For example they reviewed one study which I discussed in my book that showed increasing vitamin D levels could reduce the risk for death from cardiovascular disease by 25% or more. They looked at many other diseases including cancer, diabetes, influenza, falls and fractures, multiple sclerosis and even pregnancy outcomes.
They then obtained data from Health Canada, on mortality rates for 2005.
The authors then estimated the benefit in reducing disease based on increasing the average person's vitamin D level from 27 ng/ml to 42 ng/ml.
The results were astounding. It was estimated that the death rate in Canada would fall by 37,000 deaths per year, which represented over 16% of annual deaths and that the economic burden of disease could be reduced by 6.9% which is equal to over $14 billion per year.
Their conclusion was that they recommended that "Canadian health policy leaders consider measures to increase serum vitamin D levels for all Canadians". Of course I would certainly agree with this!
I would ask all of my readers who live in Canada or anyplace that far north to check their vitamin D levels at least once a year. My book has been translated into the Estonia language and I would remind my Estonia readers that the latitude of Estonia is 58 degrees. Even more north than Canada! And all of Scandinavia is north of Estonia ! They need vitamin D even more!
So if you have family or friends in these northern countries, call or email them to remind them to take their D at least during the winter.
Let me know what you think of all this information? Have you notified your friends even in the north of the United States about taking vitamin D?