An alarming number of almost 4 million Australians are not getting enough vitamin D, in a data released by the Bureau of Statistics shows.
Researches found that levels of the vitamin varied wildly between seasons. Deficiency rates soared to almost 50% for those living in Victoria and the ACT during winter.
Specialist say that this is a warning and that people are limiting their exposure to the sun by spending too much time indoors, thereby increasing the risk of poor bone health and chronic disease due to poor levels of the vitamin.
Rebecca Mason, a professor of physiology at the University of Sydney’s Bosch Institute said that, Australians needed at least 10 minutes of exposure to the sun on the arms during mid-morning or afternoon in summer to receive adequate vitamin D, which is absorbed through the sun’s ultraviolet-B rays.
For people with renal failure or brittle bones, taking supplements is important, Australian Medical Association NSW vice-president Saxon Smith said, but if “healthy young Australians are measured during the middle of winter, then the results could be inconsequential”.
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Dr. Smith said estimates by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia showed at least half the 4 million test for vitamin D deficiency taken each year were “unnecessary”.
Professor Mason said while there was “overwhelming” evidence that adequate vitamin D with calcium was important in reducing falls and fractures, as well as in lowering mortality, it was unclear if low levels were a marker of poor health.
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