Monthly Archives: November 2013

Vitamin D

With Winter Coming, Getting Enough Vitamin D Can Be A Challenge

Vitamin D plays an important role in preventing high blood pressure and other diseases   


With winter coming, Graham MacKenzie, pharmacist and owner of Stone’s Pharmasave in Baddeck, wants to ensure that Nova Scotians are aware of the importance of getting enough vitamin D.


“While we can get some vitamin D from food, the vast majority comes from sunlight,” said MacKenzie. “Unfortunately, in our climate, particularly in the winter time, it is difficult to get enough sunlight.  That is why I recommend vitamin D supplements.”


There are a limited number of food sources of vitamin D, such as milk, egg yolks, mackerel, salmon and tuna.  Health Canada recommends a minimum of 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day.  To put this in perspective, a glass of milk contains 100 IU and a can of tuna has 90 IU.


Many people are aware of the importance of vitamin D for bone health and there is now increasing evidence about its other health benefits.


Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked in numerous studies to hypertension (high blood pressure).  In fact, there is now a growing body of evidence that increasing Vitamin D intake can reduce high blood pressure.


A study of 155,000 participants recently presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics reinforced the link between high blood pressure and Vitamin D deficiency.


“What makes this study particularly interesting is that it also found that for every 10% increase in vitamin D levels, there was an 8.1% decrease in the risk of developing hypertension,” said MacKenzie.


High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.   Other studies have also found links between low vitamin D and several types of cancer, bone diseases, autoimmune diseases and adverse pregnancy outcomes.


“The Health Canada recommendation of 600 IU is the basic level that someone needs,” said MacKenzie. “The current standard dosage for a vitamin D supplement is 400 IU or 1000 IU per day.  Given the research findings about the role vitamin D can play in preventing disease, I recommend a minimum supplement of 2000 IU per day.”


“There is an increasing awareness of the value of Omega 3s,” said MacKenzie. “It is my hope that there will be an increasing awareness of the value of Vitamin D supplements.  They are a simple and inexpensive measure that people can take to improve their health.”



About Stone’s Pharmasave

Stone’s Drug Store has been serving the community of Baddeck, Nova Scotia for over 60 years.  In 2001, it was purchased by Graham MacKenzie, who renovated the pharmacy both inside and out.  These renovations included the establishment of Cape Breton’s only compounding lab.  Its team of six pharmacists, a certified dispenser, four pharmacy technicians 15 store employees also provide hormone replacement therapy and customized pain management therapy.  More information about Stone’s Pharmasave, including health news updates and Graham’s blog, can be found at

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