A group of scientists in the UK are pushing for the government to fortify milk and bread with vitamin D as part of the national response to COVID-19. The British have a searing crisis at stake, with a national health service on the verge of collapse.
As we reported last week, the UK – which has not handled social distancing and other mandatory measures well – is plagued by 100,000 new cases a day when asymptomatic cases are counted.
In a separate report, we wrote how UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock recommended Britons take vitamin D supplements in hopes of reducing serious illness – and the resulting stress on the hospital system.
Britons are not too keen on supplements
The problem is, around half of all Britons are vitamin D deficient and have resisted public health advice on supplements for years.
Gareth Davies, independent medical researcher, in a widely shared report from The Guardian, says government intervention is needed – and that foods such as bread and milk need to be fortified with the vitamin.
However, as The Guardian noted: “Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Affairs have rejected calls over the past 10 years to fortify foods such as milk, bread and orange juice, this which is the practice in Finland, Sweden, Australia and the United States. and Canada. “
According to the Australian government website healthdirect.gov.au: “In Australia, vitamin D is added to margarine. Certain milk, soy-based drinks, breads and cereals may also be fortified with vitamin D. “
To what extent fortification has helped increase our vitamin D intake is not clear.
But as healthdirect points out, nearly one in four Australians suffers from vitamin D deficiency.
So what is the proof?
Dr Davies is an independent researcher, apparently not affiliated with any university or commercial clinic. He is the co-author of a new, yet to be peer-reviewed article: “Evidence supports a causal role of vitamin D status in global COVID-19 outcomes.”
Other research articles are more modest, citing links and associations suggesting that vitamin D could be helpful in reducing serious risks of COVID-19.
The most recent study to get people excited, as we reported last week, was based at the Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla Hospital in Spain.
There, 216 COVID-19 patients had their vitamin D levels measured. Over 80 percent had vitamin D deficiency.
On average, men had lower vitamin D levels than women.
Doctors found that patients with lower vitamin D levels also had elevated serum levels of inflammatory markers such as ferritin and D-dimer.
Inflammation is the destructive feature of COVID-19, manifesting itself from the tips of the toes to the lining of blood vessels, lungs and deep in the brain.
Study co-author Dr José L. Hernández, University of Cantabria, observed: “Vitamin D is a hormone produced by the kidneys that controls the concentration of calcium in the blood and affects the system. immune.
“Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of health problems, although research is still being done on why the hormone affects other systems in the body. Numerous studies highlight the beneficial effect of vitamin D on the immune system, especially in terms of protection against infections.
He concludes: “Vitamin D treatment should be recommended in COVID-19 patients with low levels of vitamin D circulating in the blood, as this approach may have beneficial effects on the musculoskeletal and immune system. “
The overall conclusion, for the researcher and the medical community, is that a supplement could be helpful. And it certainly won’t do any harm.