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Give the gift of light for Christmas

Friday, January 25, 2013
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KELOWNA, BC – As last-minute shoppers scurry to complete their lists there’s one Christmas gift that will give friends and family warmth and some much-needed vitamin D – an indoor tanning session. Canada’s northern latitudes make us among the most vitamin D-deprived people in the world during the dark winter months. An estimated 97% of Canadians are vitamin D deficient at some point during the year, according to research conducted by the University of Calgary. “A tan has long been an ideal gift for its obvious benefits, but with all that we have learned about vitamin D this past year the time couldn’t be better to give the gift of light, a tanning bed emits UVB, the ray responsible for the production of vitamin D,” says Steve Gilroy, Executive Director of the Joint Canadian Tanning Association.

 “Independent research has found indoor tanners have 90% higher vitamin D blood levels than non-tanners and consequently, higher bone mineral density readings. More than 90% of tanning beds in Canada produce UVB levels that can optimize vitamin D production,” he added. Canadians produce most of their vitamin D naturally when skin is exposed to sunlight or through specially designed electronic lighting. “Many people don’t realize that for most of Canada natural sunlight does not result in adequate vitamin D production. We realize that our industry can play a significant role as part of a healthy solution to the vitamin D deficiency experienced by many Canadians,” Gilroy added. Dr. Reinhold Vieth, of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, one of the foremost vitamin D experts in the world, has said sunbeds and summer sunshine are effective ways to increase vitamin D levels. The advantage of a tanning bed is exposure to UV light can be controlled more precisely than casual sun exposure and thus can be safer than advising the public to guess at their own sun exposure from sunlight. Dr. Vieth confirmed earlier this year that a typical indoor tanning session produces 10,000 IU. << The health benefits of Vitamin D dominated the news in 2007: – In June, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a Creighton University study that revealed post-menopausal women rich in vitamin D have up to a 77% lower overall cancer risk. The four-year clinical trial followed 1,200 women who took high levels of vitamin D and matched them against a control group who did not take the vitamin. Those rich in vitamin D had up to 77% fewer cancers as compared to the control group. – Also in June, the Canadian Cancer Society called for Canadian adults to get 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily. In October, it called for major medical institutions in North America to organize more clinical trials to further substantiate the vitamin D case. – In September, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommended pregnant women consult their physicians about getting 2,000 international units(IU) of vitamin D daily. >> The Joint Canadian Tanning Association and its members believe moderate UV exposure in a non-burning fashion is the smartest way to maximize the vitamin D benefits and minimize the risks associated with either too much or too little UV exposure. For further information: Steve Gilroy, Executive Director, Joint Canadian Tanning Association, 1-800-915-0367,