Vitamin D

In recent years awareness of vitamin D deficiency and resulting related conditions has increased dramatically. Canadians specifically are affected by this issue with estimates of more than 97% of Canadians being deficient at some point in the year. Vitamin D – long known only as the body’s catalyst for proper calcium absorption – is now known to play a key part in cell growth regulation in the body. The health ramifications appear to be enormous with a reduced risk of breast, colon, ovarian, and prostate cancer as well as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

Vitamin D - ChartIn Canada we are at risk for vitamin D deficiency because of the country’s relatively weak sunshine most of the year. In fact insufficient levels of UVB found in sunshine are essentially not available October through March. Vitamin D is rare in diet, occurring naturally only in fatty fish. A synthetic form of the vitamin is supplemented into milk.

Health Canada lists tanning beds as a source of vitamin D. The JCTA believes that, given controlled nature of the UVB emitted by indoor tanning equipment, tanning beds are the most effective source of vitamin D available to Canadians. Over 90% of all tanning beds in Canada emit sufficient UVB to optimize vitamin D production. The following graph published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition illustrates the consistent nature of vitamin D as produced through a tanning bed exposure resulting in 1 MED.

Serum vitamin D concentrations after a whole-body exposure to 1 minimal erythemal dose (MED) of simulated sunlight in a tanning bed and after a single oral dose of either 10 000 or 25 000 IU vitamin D2. UV, ultraviolet.