Free vitamin D

Hallelujah! At last the government have responded to the urging of a group of scientists and are now going to give free vitamin D to clinically vulnerable people!

Back in the spring that same government was talking about vitamin D in terms of “the worst kind of fake news”! At the beginning of May I wrote:-

Welfare Foods Service

In 1942, in the midst of World War II, Britain’s Ministry of Food announced the Welfare Foods Service. The new program was to provide free or subsidised cod liver oil, fruit juices, and milk to all children under the age of five, as well as to pregnant mothers, regardless of income. These were considered essential to ensure that children were getting vital nutrients.

Cod liver oil would have supplied vitamin D!

This was stopped in 1962. Months later, member of Parliament, Frank Allaun (Salford East) challenged that decision pointing out that “The Minister does not really know whether the necessary vitamins are being obtained because it will be some time before the signs become evident.”

Fake news

It is interesting to consider that the UK Government once understood enough about nutrition to provide free supplementation to all children and pregnant women

The current government, however, while having absolutely nothing to offer in terms of a cure – insists that such nutritional supplements are “fake news of the worst kind“.

I suggest that the worst kind of fake news, right now, is the government’s disparagement of nutritional wisdom once held dear by the government!

Better late than never

Still – better late than never – now millions of elderly and vulnerable people will be given free supplies of Vitamin D as evidence grows about the benefits of Vitamin D in the battle against Covid-19.

The move will be accompanied by the start of clinical trials to further assess links between Vitamin D and Covid-19.

Care-home residents and people who are shielding will be sent enough supplies of the vitamin to last four months.

The move comes in light of emerging evidence about the immune modulating benefits of Vitamin D. The encouraging results of a clinical trial in Spain have recently been published – read about it here

A UK study found that 80 per cent of Covid-19 victims admitted to hospital were Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is a hormone produced by the kidneys which has a direct impact on the body’s immune system.

A Government-backed review concluded that Vitamin D improves the ability to fight infection. According to British researchers, our immune system’s T-cells become ‘supercharged’ in response to Vitamin D.

Much higher levels

Dr Martin Hewison, Professor of Molecular Endocrinology at the University of Birmingham and one of the country’s leading investigators into Vitamin D said  ‘We think that Vitamin D can dampen down the over-reaction of the immune system which causes life-threatening Covid illness in some people.

Dr Martin Hewison

Dr Hewison is among a group of scientists who have been campaigning for the Government to increase the recommended daily amount (RDA) of Vitamin D. ‘Obese people, women and those over 50 have trouble absorbing vitamin D into the bloodstream, so many may need more of the vitamin’ he explains.

Official recommendations underestimate the amount of the nutrient needed‘, says dietician Ursula Philpot. ‘Our recommended daily intakes are based on avoiding deficiency. But due to genetic variations, some will need much higher levels of Vitamin D for optimum  immune-functioning.’

Experts have suggested that the higher rates of serious Covid-19 complications in patients from ethnic minorities could be due to the fact that the darker the skin, the longer it takes for  vitamin D to be synthesised from sunlight.

Testing

For anyone, the only way to be sure of having adequate blood levels of vitamin D is by testing. It’s a worthwhile health investment in the middle of a global pandemic!

Click here for information on testing