MP pushes Vitamin D awareness

It may not be a cure-all, but it most certainly helps, says James Lunney

With healthcare costs eating up an increasing percentage of both provincial and federal budgets, it makes sense, says Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney, to take a simple, inexpensive step to lower those costs and boost health outcomes.

That step, he said this week, is simply for people in northern climates such as Canada’s, to take more Vitamin D.

“There is abundant scientific research in the last decade on the vital role of Vitamin D in boosting the immune system and reducing the possibility of cancer, heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis and viral infections,” Lunney said. “The annals of epidemiology estimated it would reduce cancer 25 per cent by increasing the levels of vitamin D. With colorectal and breast cancer it would save 14 billion in Canada alone. It’s hard to imagine how this health measure that is inexpensive and that  people can do themselves doesn’t get more attention.”

In an effort to garner that missing attention, Lunney has tabled a private member’s bill in the House of Commons, Bill C-388, which calls for a national Vitamin D Day, to be observed on Nov. 2.

“I’m not a big fan of all these days being proclaimed, but this is all about awareness,” he said. “It’s to draw attention to this simple measure people can take to reduce the risk of serious disease.”

Lunney noted the BC Cancer Agency recommends taking 1,500 international units to reduce the risk of cancer.

“The Fraser Health District, one of the largest in Canada, has taken their own initiative and is implementing a program right now with giving 20,000 units by injection weekly for all patients in their care and they anticipate the program will save them $200 million a year from the cost of falls among seniors.”

Lunney said people living in northern latitudes tend to be deficient in Vitamin D.

“It’s not a cure-all but it does have a powerful immune boosting and muscle-strengthening function,” he said.