Why is the Government stalling on Vitamin D
About a year ago I wrote about the role vitamins C and D and iodine play in helping our immune systems to fight the Covid-19 virus.
I have written on the subject occasionally since as new evidence has emerged to support the use of high dosages of vitamins, and particularly vitamin D, in hospitals and beyond in the strategy to bring normality back to our lives.
It’s disappointing, though not surprising given the narrow-mindedness of the medical establishment that nothing much has happened in practical terms since last March to move either the debate of the strategy forward.
Back then, of course, Covid was a brand new threat and it was unclear what its impact might be. The Government’s advisers talked then of 20,000 Covid-related deaths being a best case scenario.
The claimed death toll currently stands at 109,000, though it’s worth saying that the Government is either unable or unwilling to tell us how many deaths have been with Covid-19 and how many have been from Covid-19 (just as it refuses to publish the figures for the number of people who have recovered from the virus).
In the last two or three weeks there have been renewed calls for the Government to implement a rollout of vitamin D treatment as a matter of urgency.
This call – now backed by a number of senior MPs from all parties – has been largely fuelled by the results of a study carried out on 550 patients on the Covid-19 wards of Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar.
In the study, published in late January, the patients were given increasingly high doses of vitamin D3 at several intervals.
The researchers discovered that those patients involved in the trial were 80% less likely to require treatment in an intensive care unit than those patients who weren’t given the vitamin supplements.
That research has also been supplemented by research at Queen Mary University London which found that vitamin D – known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because it is a natural by-product of the effect of the sun on our bodies – inhibits a tendency to respiratory illness, which is obviously the clinical effect on many patients who catch the virus.
So far, in spite of this and other evidence I’ve written about previously, and which you can read here, the only positive response from the UK government has been the health secretary, Matt Hancock, asking the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) to monitor evidence as it emerges.
In turn, NICE has stated that it does not consider there to be sufficient evidence to recommend the use of high dosages of vitamin D as a formal preventative treatment for Covid-19.
I find this to be an astonishing and, arguably, irresponsible response.
Here we are, very nearly 12 months into unprecedented levels of social restrictions and a new vaccine whose effectiveness we can’t yet fully measure and which as far as we know, does not prevent transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
The vaccine may still not provide a route out of the restrictions, but the Government can’t say with any certainty when that will happen (we have a roadmap full of ‘no earlier thans’), so we are a long way still from knowing what the future holds.
Yet there are two studies that appear to show a vitamin which is relatively inexpensive (certainly in the context of the vaccines currently in use) could help to mitigate serious illness and ICU admissions.
A vitamin, I might add, that is completely safe at high levels, and thus satisfies the first rule of medicine to do no harm.
For context, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) or vitamin D in normal day to day life is 600-800 international units (IU) although vitamin D experts recommend intakes of 4 to 5,000 IU a day to ensure all the many benefits of vitamin D.
A person would have to consume 600,000 IU of vitamin a day for a period of months to be at risk of vitamin D poisoning (known as hypercalcemia), which is a build-up of calcium in the blood that induces vomiting, weakness and frequent urination. Furthermore, as I have stated in previous articles, when taken with vitamin K2; hypecalcaemia does not occur. See here for more details.
So, if vitamin D is inexpensive, safe and appears to help stem the tide of ICU admissions, why would NICE not recommend a dosing strategy?
Thankfully, it is possible to implement a vitamin D regimen at home that will help to bolster your normal levels and improve the efficiency of your immune system.
Depending on skin type and time of day, 15 minutes of unfiltered sun two to three times weekly will increase naturally occurring vitamin D levels to normal. Make sure, though, that only the arms and legs are exposed. Your face should always be protected from unfiltered sun.
But also bear in mind that normal levels of vitamin D are not the same as optimal levels, so adding supplemental vitamin D alongside sensible exposure to unfiltered sun will bring even greater benefit in terms of immunity and resistance.
As I said early last summer, getting outside into the sun and taking extra vitamin D may well do you more good than you can imagine.
The article and video I made available last year are can still be accessed if you’d like to know more about the role vitamins and iodine can play in keeping you healthy.