The U.K. decision came this year, as a recommendation from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to the U.K. government.
A campaign group called the Vitamin D Society of Canada has begun lobbying for the Canadian government to issue the same recommendations and to review vitamin D intake levels for the Canadian population. The Vitamin D Society
is a Canadian non-profit group organized to increase awareness of the many health conditions strongly linked to vitamin D deficiency.
The reason for the call is based on the similarities in terms of climate between the U.K. and Canada, at least in terms of periods where sunshine levels are low. The primary way that vitamin D is produced is through exposure to sunshine. In Canada this means a window between May and October. Outside of this period, the group argues, vitamin D levels decline.
Vitamin D refers to a group
of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc.
In extreme cases, a lack of vitamin D results in a person having thin and brittle bones. This arises because vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These factors are essential for bone. A diet deficient in vitamin D in conjunction with inadequate sun exposure causes osteomalacia (or rickets when it occurs in children), which is a softening of the bones.
In a statement, Dr. Susan Whiting, Scientific Advisor for the Vitamin D Society indicated what she sees as the importance
of Canadians taking supplements: “Modest fortification with vitamin D in Canada has prevented us from having so much severe vitamin D deficiency as is the situation in the UK right now. But diet alone in neither country can allow us to achieve optimal vitamin D status especially in winter months.”
The scientist points to statistics that show some 12 million Canadians do not meet recommended vitamin D blood level requirements.