There are biologically plausible reasons why serum 25(OH)D may be associated with respiratory health, Dr. Hirani reports, as inadequate vitamin D concentrations can impair the response to respiratory virus infection in the lung.
What does this mean for Canadians? Perry Holman, executive director for the Vitamin D Society points out that “a recent Statistics Canada study(2) on the Vitamin D blood levels of Canadians, reported that the mean vitamin D level for Canadians was 63.5 nmol/L. This would put over 50% of Canadians below the 64 nmol/L level and they would be at a substantially higher risk of having a respiratory disease.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada reported that over 3 million Canadians cope with serious respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) lung cancer, tuberculosis (TB), cystic fibrosis, influenza, pneumonia and bronchiolitis. Many of these diseases are tied to an ever increasing aging population and will pose a significant challenge for the healthcare system. The economic impact of respiratory diseases in Canada is estimated at 6.5% of total health care costs or $12.4B/year(3).
“Vitamin D is safe, inexpensive and represents a tremendous opportunity to reduce the personal and economic impact of respiratory disease” states Holman. “We ask for the help and support from various healthcare organizations dealing with respiratory disease, to implement vitamin D public health awareness programs, to help raise the vitamin D levels of all Canadians especially our seniors.”
This is not the first study to report an association between lower vitamin D levels and a higher risk of respiratory disease. A study published in 2010 by researchers from Yale University found that people who had vitamin D levels greater than 95 nmol/L (38 ng/ml) were associated with lower risk of developing acute respiratory tract infections(4).
To help avoid vitamin D deficiency, the Vitamin D Society urge everyone, from babies to seniors, to have a 25(OH)D blood test, get your test score and make sure your levels are between 100-150 nmol/L (Can) or 40-60 ng/ml (USA). Dr. Robert Heaney recommends people achieve a daily intake of 35 IU of vitamin D per day per pound (75 IU per kg) to help ensure you reach optimal levels vitamin D blood levels of 100 nmol/L (Can) or 40 ng ml (USA).
Dr. John Cannell from the Vitamin D Council recommends sunlight, sunbed or D3 supplementation to increase your vitamin D levels.
About the Vitamin D Society: 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; encourage people to be proactive in protecting their health and have their vitamin D levels tested annually; and help fund valuable vitamin D research. The Vitamin D Society recommends people achieve and maintain optimal 25(OH)D blood levels between 100 – 150 nmol/L (Can) or 40-60 ng/ml (USA).
For further information, please contact:
Perry Holman, Vitamin D Society, 877-520-4867