In most of Canada we are now in the midst of the “dog days” of winter. The cold, gloomy, snowy days that make curling up in bed with a good book the only acceptable activity! I live in eastern Canada and we have been totally pummeled this year and winter is barely two weeks old! On December 23rd we were entombed in ice more than an inch thick, lost power for days (many for up to 11 days!), had three successive snow storms, four if you count today and are now in the midst of bone chilling, record breaking cold temperatures. Yesterday’s HIGH was minus 25 degrees Celsius and the wind chill made it feel like minus 36C., today it is a balmy minus 21C.
Couple the “normal” Canadian winter with what is known as the “Vitamin D Winter” – when the angle of the sun changes and the UV rays that make Vitamin D do not reach us, and consequently, over 85 per cent of Canadian children are not meeting the estimated requirements for dietary Vitamin D? That is, to me, a staggeringly high number!
As many people are aware, vitamin D plays an important role in protecting your bones and your body requires it to absorb calcium. Therefore, children need vitamin D to build strong bones and adults need it to keep their bones strong and healthy. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you may lose bone density and will be at increased risk for bone fractures as you age.
To help Canadians get enough of the sunshine vitamin, Kellogg’s Canada has fortified 13 of its most loved cereals with 20 per cent of Health Canada’s recommended daily intake of vitamin D. Classic Kellogg’s brands such as…
- Rice Krispies
- Special K
- Froot Loops
- Mini-Wheats Little bites
- Corn Pops
- Cinnamon Pops
- Frosted Flakes and
…and many others now include sunshine in every bowl!
Fast Facts on Vitamin D:
- Dietary vitamin D can also be found in natural (certain fatty fish, egg yolk) and fortified (milk, margarine) sources.
- Over 85% of Canadian children, 75% of Canadian adolescents and 80% of Canadian adults are not meeting the estimated requirements for dietary vitamin D.
- Just over two-thirds of Canadians (68%) have vitamin D blood levels sufficient for healthy bones.
- If Canadians raised their vitamin D levels it would save an estimated 37, 000 premature deaths and $14.4 billion in healthcare costs annually.
Diseases with a suspected link to decreased levels of vitamin D
I did a little research and quickly compiled a fairly long list of diseases that have a suspected link to vitamin D deficiency, including:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Some forms of cancer
- Dental cavities
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
We all want to keep ourselves and our family as healthy as possible and I applaud Kellogg’s for “stepping up to the bowl”, so to speak, with this initiative and bringing awareness to the need for vitamin D in our everyday diets.
Check out Health Canada’s Dietary Reference Intake chart for vitamin D.
Are you and your family getting your daily requirement?