When Daylight Saving Time stops, consider taking vitamin D
02 November 2011
Daylight Saving Time will soon come to an end. When we change our clocks on Sunday, November 6, it is also an opportune time to consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement through the fall and winter months.
Why vitamin D?
Because of Canada’s northern latitude, the sun’s rays are weaker and the days are shorter during the fall and winter months. Canadians are therefore unable to produce enough vitamin D from sunlight during this time.
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and muscles, especially in children and the elderly. And there is growing evidence that vitamin D may reduce the risk of some types of cancer, particularly colorectal and breast cancers.
Research continues to show the potential protective effects of vitamin D against cancer. For example, a recent study showed that an important component of vitamin D activity, the vitamin D receptor, can slow the growth of colon cancer cells. In addition, researchers are studying how the vitamin D receptor may affect other cancers since the receptor is present in the cells of many tissues and organs.
The Canadian Cancer Society’s recommendation
In consultation with their healthcare providers, the Society recommends that adults at higher risk of having inadequate vitamin D levels should consider taking a vitamin D supplement of 1,000 IU/day all year round. This includes people:
- 50 years of age and older;
- with dark skin;
- who don’t go outside often, and;
- who wear clothing that covers most of their skin.
For Canadians in provinces that do not observe Daylight Saving Time, the Society urges them to also consider taking vitamin D starting on November 6.
In addition to taking supplements, people can get vitamin D by limited exposure to sunlight during the spring and summer in Canada, and through their diets.
More information on vitamin D
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.