In the heart of winter, natural sunshine can decrease by 60%, this significantly reduces our vitamin D intake. In summer, because we wear lighter and less covering clothes, our system generates a large amount of vitamin D by this simple exposure to the light of day. It is estimated that exposure to the sun can provide 80% to 90% of our daily requirement of vitamin D. But in winter, this is not the case.
According to a Canadian government study, more than one-third of the population is vitamin D deficient. (Updated 2015)
Why is vitamin D so important to us, Canadians?
Vitamin D plays an important role in our daily lives. It is a nutrient that contributes to the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by our body. Thus, it forms and maintains our strong bones and teeth. Its particularity is that it can be synthesized by the body following exposure to ultraviolet B sunlight.
However, in winter, between the two equinoxes (September 22 to March 20), at our latitude, there is very little UVB radiation. That’s why we Canadians are even more in need of vitamin D than the rest of the world.
Vitamin D deficiencies, what are the consequences?
It is not always easy to detect the effects of vitamin D deficiencies.
In children, it can result in pain, irritability and stunted growth that can result in the softening of the bones (rickets) of the child.
In adults, symptoms may include difficulty in thinking, unexplained fatigue, muscle weakness, and frequent bone fractures.
What are the tips for maintaining this vitamin D in our body?
While it is usually not enough, our diet can help fill the gap with vitamin D. Foods such as oily fish, milk, fortified cereals, yogurt, egg yolks and orange juice will bring us a maximum of “sun” vitamins.
To get around the lack of sunshine, light therapy can be a solution that can be very effective. Thanks to a daily exposure to an artificial light source that replicates the spectrum of solar light. The light therapy lamp, also called “solar lamp”, can provide us with the light we need to synthesise vitamin D.
It has a low cost and it takes, on average, five to six sessions before seeing our vitamin D levels rise. Have you ever tried this? Tell us about it!
According to healthcare professionals, taking supplements containing vitamin D would be the simplest and fastest way to meet our needs.
Ask a healthcare professional such as your family doctor or pharmacist for the products that are best for you.
Sources : Santé Canada, Passeport Santé.net and Radio Canada.ca