Saving money on Canada’s healthcare budget doesn’t necessarily mean cutting back on anything, says MP James Lunney.
Merely increasing people’s dosage of Vitamin D can keep people healthier, requiring fewer visits to either the doctor or the hospital.
For this reason, Lunney stood in the House of Commons Thursday to introduce Bill C-388, An Act to establish National Vitamin D Day in Canada.
“Abundant scientific research over the past decade has underscored the vital role of Vitamin D in boosting immune response and reducing the risk of serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis and even viral infections such as the flu,” Lunney said. “The BC Cancer Agency recommends 1,500 international units (IU) to reduce the risk of cancers and a recent study suggests health care savings in the billions of dollars by increasing Canadians’ levels of Vitamin D.”
The bill, Lunney said, would expand the initiative by municipalities across the country and establish Nov. 2 as National Vitamin D Day.
Lunney pointed to a July, 2009 study published in The Annals of Epidemiology which states that raising the amount of Vitamin D in North Americans would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, saving over $14 billion per year in Canada alone.
He said Vitamin D is best known for its role in calcium metabolism affecting muscle and bone health, noting B.C.’s largest health region, Fraser Health, is the first in Canada to initiate Vitamin D supplementation to all seniors in residential care to reduce the risk of falls and fracture.
In B.C., he added, falls in seniors cost the health care system $200 million per year.
A major study undertaken by Statistics Canada found 60 to 70 per cent of Canadians have less than ideal levels of Vitamin D.
“A National Vitamin D Day will further public knowledge, discussion and use of a cost-effective personal health measure,” Lunney said.