ASMI says Vitamin D supplements beneficial when a deficiency

22 April 2014

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22 April 2014 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said that Vitamin D supplements can play a vital role in overcoming a widespread Vitamin D deficiency.
This was in response to the release of figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which revealed that nearly a quarter of Australians have a Vitamin D deficiency. The 2011-13 Australian Health Survey (AHS) found that 17% of people had a mild deficiency, 6% a moderate deficiency and less than 1% a severe deficiency. 1 Vitamin D deficiency was much lower in those who took a supplement.

Vitamin D levels varied markedly by season, with rates of deficiency being much lower in summer (14%) and much higher in winter (36%). In winter, rates of Vitamin D deficiency were particularly high in the south eastern states of Victoria (49%), ACT (49%) and Tasmania (43%), compared with the northern states of Queensland (15%) and the Northern Territory (17%).

Steve Scarff, ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, said: "Vitamin D is essential for the body to absorb calcium effectively, which is important for bone health and muscle function and for preventing conditions such as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is one of Australia's most debilitating and costly health problems, with approximately 1.2 million Australians affected. Because fracture risk increases with age, postmenopausal women and older individuals need to maintain good bone health through appropriate levels of physical activity and adequate calcium intake and Vitamin D levels.

"The Australian Health Survey found that one in twenty people used a Vitamin D supplement. For people who aren't obtaining adequate Vitamin D from natural sources such as sunlight, supplementation is a highly effective way to fill the gap.
"Australians who are unsure about their Vitamin D intake are encouraged to talk to a qualified healthcare professional who can provide advice on ways to monitor and if needed, increase, Vitamin D levels," said Mr Scarff.
-ENDS-

About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines. Its members make up 85 per cent of the $4bn self care market. Membership totals 60 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 17,000 people with exports estimated at $600 million annually. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy (www.asmi.com.au).

References
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Nutrients, 2011-12. 15/4/14. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.006main+features12011-12