There’s a good reason for brushing off the cobwebs here on this hot day to create a new post – the UK government has achieved a milestone (enough to pop one party popper) by recommending that everyone takes vitamin D pills in the darker seasons. Unfortunately, the recommended amount is still an almost worthless 400 IU (better than nothing, I guess) and many of us will need pills throughout the year. The media also seem to be reporting the classic skeletal benefits only.
If you’re interested in the SACN report you can find the PDF here.
It’s also nearly the 4th anniversary of the publication of Prescribing Sunshine. While the book hasn’t set the world on fire (no thanks to my admittedly limited and lacklustre promotion attempts) it does trickle across to new readers and I’m happy at some reach over none at all. In hindsight I probably would have omitted some topics or tried for greater sensitivity, but in not doing that I think my book stands out and delivers a mix of anger, sadness, optimism and awe. (If you haven’t read it yet click the link on the side.) I have no plans to revise it, I’m interested to see how it stands the further passage of time.
This year has also seen cholesterol scepticism go mainstream. Media figures like Dr. Aseem Malhotra are pointing at excessive sugar intake as the enemy (though how dangerous is sugar to the vitamin D replete?) and though statins are still being dispensed, it’s less ‘mad’ to champion fat consumption.
Most of my activism time is directed towards HIV scepticism these days because it’s still a subject that’s not gaining much ground. When the 2015 Penrose Inquiry report was released regarding the alleged HIV infection of Scottish blood recipients, the news was unfortunately overshadowed by the Germanwings plane crash tragedy. I read the executive summary of the inquiry and I wrote about the even greater miscarriage of justice, for the Immunity Resource Foundation’s blog. Read here. Most of the posts there are mine too.
I’m not going to lie and say that I’m fully back to blogging here (or even tweeting, for that matter) but until vitamin D is fully appreciated by the masses, in the words of Arnie, I’ll be back.
Prof Ian Reid, lead study author, from the University of Auckland, said the findings [of a new meta-analysis of all vitamin D studies to date] showed that healthy adults did not need to take vitamin D supplements.
“Our data suggest that the targeting of low-dose vitamin D supplements only to individuals who are likely to be deficient could free up substantial resources that could be better used elsewhere in healthcare.”
This study of studies relies on data from “inception to July 8, 2012… of vitamin D (D3 or D2, but not vitamin D metabolites) on bone mineral density.” The major problem with that is historical low-dose trials, mostly with D2. It also talks nothing of other diseases and the various barriers most people having in making vitamin D.
This media blow to vitamin D activism is an indirect victory to Big Pharma.
[Source: BBC News, contains link to meta-analysis]
“Previous research has shown that epilepsy can affect bone health in some groups. Some anti-epileptic medicines can affect bone metabolism. This is a process that gradually replaces old bone tissue with new tissue – important in healing fractures, for instance. The medicines can prevent the body doing this as effectively as it should.”
“the article was published in The Journal of Paediatric Neurosciences. In it, authors state: “Low-dose vitamin D supplementation… is now recommended for healthy children and it is biologically feasible that children with epilepsy may be at higher risk of clinically significant deficiency. It is important that neurologists ensure that low-dose vitamin D supplementation should be prescribed… in children with epilepsy.”
A personal story in my book lends credence to this.
[Source: Epilepsy Action]
The Daily Mail has an article about the risk of one problem in trying to avoid another.
Let us be clear: In England you are more likely to suffer from rickets/osteomalacia than develop skin cancer.
The Vitamin D Council alerted me to a nearly year-old audio piece from BBC’s Today which points out that SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) may also have a link to vitamin D deficiency.
“…Questions have been raised over whether a lack of vitamin D could also be a factor contributing to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Sids) and possibly miscarriages of justice involving allegations of child abuse.”
Click the second hyperlink above and have a listen to the 7min piece.
Geo TV reports an alarming but unsurprising percentage of orthopaedic problems in the Pakistani population.
“[Prof Mahar]…said that disability ratio was increasing mainly due to traffic mishaps and marriages among cousins. He said that people should avoid marriage with first blood relation and should be very careful while driving and crossing roads.”
Because traffic in many parts of Pakistan are quite disorganised, it’s not surprising that injury can be seen as a major attributer. Marriage among first blood relations, running contrary to Darwinian theory, would likely create problems in the vitamin D system.
While the first bold paragraph of the article mentions vitamin D and calcium, it stops there. I would hedge that for a 40% estimation to be true you cannot rely on injury or intermarriage being major contributors.
Pakistanis are brown and by and large Muslim. Though they live in a sun-blessed country, a highly conservative attitude to sun exposure and lack of fish in the diet is the best explanation.
What’s more worrying though is I would bet that the level used to define deficiency is outdated. Well over 90% of Pakistanis could be vitamin D deficient. We could extrapolate this to India and countries in the Middle East.
It’s been a few years, to my knowledge, since the last local vitamin D event, but the Royal Society for Public Health have one arranged for 6 February 2013, featuring a host of British speakers.
Early bookers (before 14 December) can get a 10% discount. The price is still steep though, but any Londoners might like to let a medical professional know about it.
Read a PDF of the event here.