Vitamin D, Dark Skin, COVID and Influenza
How our Government and various Health Officials and Professionals have let our darker-skinned populations down: badly!
For the last 40 years, I have lived within our Maori and Pasifika communities. When my children, a mix of Pakeha, Cook Islands Maori, Samoan and Tongan descent were born, I became a vocal opponent of the "Slip-Slop - Cover-Up" campaign which I called racist.
Many more of my articles about sunlight and health are here:
While it now makes some concessions for dark-skinned people, Slip-Slop is still a racist programme because it sets out to protect the fair-skinned while the token gestures to our dark-skinned citizens are insufficient and they get lost in the noise of the bigger message which is to fear sunlight. This racially biased messaging comes at a great cost to the health of New Zealand's dark-skinned people.
Fact: Dark-skinned people have almost zero risk of contracting and dying from sun-related skin cancer - at least 1/50th that of fair-skinned people.
I am fair-skinned whereas my partner Alofa and our children have dark skin. While their needs vary, they need at least ten times as much sunlight as me to manufacture "healthy" amounts of vitamin D.
Official sunlight guidelines are therefore biased towards the fair-skinned majority which is quite simply wrong and discriminatory of the worst kind because it costs people their lives.
"Would you like a burger and fries voucher with your jab?"
Now, with COVID and influenza, the lies and misinformation about vitamin D not only continue but have been ramped up several more levels. It begs the question as to why nobody is allowed to discuss or promote basic and highly effective health measures such as combating obesity, cutting down on sugar, boosting vitamin D, zinc, selenium and more, including reducing poverty. Moreover, the people who stand to benefit the most from such measures are our Maori and Pasifika people. And now our Minister of Health is about to introduce the Natural Health Products Bill which they will undoubtedly railroad through this time (They have tried and failed on two previous occasions due to professional and public opposition). This Bill threatens the availability and potency of natural products including vitamin D, and also threatened the existence of natural health practitioners. Why are they so intent on reducing people's health choices and freedoms?
We have to wonder what this Government agreed to when it signed up with Big Pharma companies to supply the jabs?
No matter which way we look at it, there is something very dodgy about this whole pandemic programme, including the suppression of any effective health messaging other than wearing a mask, keeping away from other people and getting the jab!
Vitamin D, Dosages
While recommended daily doses of vitamin D vary among experts, the general consensus is this:
4,000IU per day for an adult.
Titrate downwards for children according to body size, so a 30 Kg child may have 2,000IU per day.
On days when your torso is exposed to sunlight, there is no need to supplement.
Supplement during Winter.
It is better to supplement daily than a big dose once a week or once a month.
Purchase Quality Vitamin D
For children and babies: https://www.garymoller.com/product-page/biocare-baby-children-s-vitamin-d3-15-ml
You may add a couple of these daily to fortify the vitamin D supplementation:
The Evidence for Vitamin D: Follow the Science!
The article that follows By Kiwi Blogger: 8wire, VITAMIN D & DARK SKIN IN WINTER
Lifesaving Covid Cure Suppressed is reproduced with permission. This is an excellent overview of the scandalous suppression of health information in New Zealand and is backed up by good research that cannot, in good faith, be ignored.
Enjoy the read and please support independent media such as 8wire:
VITAMIN D & DARK SKIN IN WINTER
Lifesaving Covid Cure Suppressed
Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunshine.
Vitamin D is so important to humans that as they migrated to colder climates, they changed their skin tone from dark to light to absorb more of it from the sun.
The vitamin plays a vital role in immunity and is crucial for the development of killer T cells:
In order for T cells to become active members of the body’s immune system, they must transition from so-called “naive” T cells into either killer cells or helper cells (which are charged with “remembering” specific invaders). And, if ample vitamin D is not around, the T cells do not make that crucial transition, “When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device of ‘antenna’ known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D,” If there is an inadequate vitamin D level, he noted, “they won’t even begin to mobilize.” Scientific American
T cells help kill viruses including Covid 19. They can work where vaccines fail:
T-cells can fight Omicron when antibodies fail to. Human bodies have a second line of defence against Covid that offers hope in the global fight against the Omicron variant., Australian researchers say. Omicron has a higher number of mutations than other variants, which means it can sometimes slip past the antibodies produced by vaccination or infection. But if it does enter the body, the T-cells – white blood cells that originate in the marrow – will attack. University of Melbourne
They even offer good protection from reinfection caused by new variants:
This study suggests that cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses could be particularly important in the protection against severe disease caused by variants of concern whereas neutralising antibody responses seem to reduce over time. The Lancet
People with darker skin struggle to produce sufficient Vitamin D if they are in low sun environments.
A study showed that 20 percent of Pākehā participants, 39 percent of Māori, 47 percent of Pacific and 72 percent of South Asian participants were Vitamin D deficient.
There is a strong correlation between these numbers and the people who have been most severely impacted by Covid 19 (elderly people also struggle to produce Vitamin D).
On 2nd June 2020 New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was advised to supplement this at-risk population by her Chief Science Advisor:
the groups identified as at-risk of deficiency are still considered at-risk: • People with naturally dark skin • People whose skin is not regularly exposed to sunlight • People who live in the South Island (especially south of Nelson-Marlborough) and get little time outdoors in the middle of the day between May and August •Testing for vitamin D status is more expensive than supplementing in NZ, so current policy is to supplement individuals at-risk of vitamin D deficiency at the discretion of GPs. This policy is probably also appropriate for managing individuals at-risk of severe COVID-19 disease in NZ until more information is gathered from clinical trials. Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor
Jacinda Ardern choose not to follow this advice.
But she didn’t stop there. The Government (& to an extent, the media) actively suppressed any positive messaging around Vitamin D.
They even blocked all response messages containing ‘Vitamin D’ on the Government UniteAgainstCOVID19 Facebook page.
Stuff News went so far as to publish an article titled ‘Battling Covid with Vitamin D, mouthwash, and a dose of stupidity’.
High profile people who are paid to look after the interests of New Zealanders – ignored all evidence that Vitamin D could be beneficial. They never questioned the government narrative. The focus was to push the vaccine and nothing else.
There is evidence Vitamin D can also reduce the risk of myocarditis. So could have been beneficial in reducing vaccine deaths.
Unfortunately a dangerous negative attitude towards anything other than vaccines has prevailed.
Vitamin D takes a month or so to build up in the system. So giving it after the fact is too late.
Now New Zealand has entered into Winter.
The Government knew in January that Winter would be a time of less Vitamin D from sunlight and that high flu cases would burden hospital capacity.
They had statistics from Denmark showing precisely what an Omicron Winter looks like in a similar population size.
But instead of allowing the virus to spread during Summer when it was safer – they made a conscious decision to delay the spread so that a significant number of cases would occur ‘during’ Winter.
A gamble which has not paid off.
Hospitals and GPs have now been overwhelmed.
Additionally, by ignoring the science around Vitamin D – they have failed people with dark skin, the elderly, and New Zealanders in general.
Further reading –
STUDIES & DATA:
T-cells can fight Omicron when antibodies fail to, Australian researchers say
Human bodies have a second line of defence against Covid that offers hope in the global fight against the Omicron variant, Australian researchers say.
University of Melbourne research, done in conjunction with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, has found T-cells should be able to tackle the virus.
Omicron has a higher number of mutations than other variants, which means it can sometimes slip past the antibodies produced by vaccination or infection. But if it does enter the body, the T-cells – white blood cells that originate in the marrow – will attack.
The research has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal Viruses.
Co-leader of the research, the University of Melbourne’s Matthew McKay, said while it was a preliminary study, it was “positive news”.
“Even if Omicron, or some other variant for that matter, can potentially escape antibodies, a robust T-cell response can still be expected to offer protection and help to prevent significant illness,” he said.
“These results overall would suggest that broad escape from T-cells is very unlikely.
Another reason vitamin D is important: It gets T cells going
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a rapidly expanding inventory of ailments—including heart disease, cancer and the common cold. A new discovery demonstrates how the vitamin plays a major role in keeping the body healthy in the first place, by allowing the immune system’s T cells to start doing their jobs.
In order for T cells to become active members of the body’s immune system, they must transition from so-called “naive” T cells into either killer cells or helper cells (which are charged with “remembering” specific invaders). And, if ample vitamin D is not around, the T cells do not make that crucial transition, a group of researchers led by Carsten Geisler, head of the Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, found. They draw this conclusion based on their experiments with isolated naïve human T cells.
“When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device of ‘antenna’ known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D,” Geisler said in a prepared statement. If there is an inadequate vitamin D level, he noted, “they won’t even begin to mobilize.”
Although this vitamin requirement might seem like a handicap to the immune system, the researchers proposed that the additional step involving the vitamin D receptor might actually serve an important evolutionary function: keeping T cells from ravaging healthy tissue. “Given that T cells are capable of explosive proliferation, the lag phase imposed by the vitamin D [receptor step] may diminish the risk of unwanted immunopathology,” they noted in the study, which was published online March 7 in Nature Immunology (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group).
The body naturally makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunshine (it can also come from eggs and some fish products), but most people in the U.S. are considered to be deficient in the vitamin. In fact, a 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine study found that 77 percent of U.S. adults and teenagers surveyed did not have the estimated minimum healthful level of 30 nanograms per milliliter in their blood. And just three percent of blacks in the survey were getting enough of the vitamin, the 2009 report found.
Powering up the immune system
The European Food Safety Authority notes, vitamins A, B6, B9, B12, C and D and the minerals zinc, selenium, iron and copper are all needed for the immune system to function as it should.
Each of these micronutrients – as well as vitamin E – has been shown to play multiple roles in supporting immune function and reducing the risk of infection. Research has found a link between having an impaired immune system and having low amounts of many vitamins and minerals.
Low Vitamin D in Maori, Pacific & South Asian people
In sunny New Zealand it’s hard to believe people would have low vitamin D levels, but we do. The required level for good health at all ages is deemed to be at least 50 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) of blood. The ViDA study showed that 20 percent of Pākehā participants, 39 percent of Māori, 47 percent of Pacific and 72 percent of South Asian participants had less than 50 nmol/L.
70 percent of Europeans suffer from low vitamin D levels, experts say
A group of experts has prepared a report on vitamin D supplementation for menopausal women after it was revealed that Europeans have suffered an alarming decrease in their levels of this vitamin.
Vitamin D deficiency is a real problem in Europe as levels in the blood are low in 50% to 70% of the population. Pérez-López points out that “healthcare professionals should be aware that this is a common problem which affects a large part of the population in Europe, even those who live in sunny places.”
Therefore, a group of experts from the European Menopause and Andropause society (EMAS), led by Pérez-López, have prepared a report about vitamin D supplementation and the health of postmenopausal women. The text has been signed by 11 experts from international institutions like the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
According to these experts, vitamin D supplements improve the mineral density of the bones and neuromuscular function and reduce the risk of fracture. Pérez-López believes that “the World Health Organisation or other relevant bodies belonging to the European Union should establish minimum requirements or recommendations on the fortification of foods with vitamin D.”
Vitamin D includes a series of lipophilic hormonal compounds that regulate calcium metabolism by working on the kidneys, the digestive tract, the skeleton and the parathyroid glands. Vitamin D supplements can be taken as vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) or D3 (colecalciferol).
Vertebrates synthesize vitamin D3 in the skin through exposure to sunlight whereas a small quantity is obtained through foods such as oily fish, eggs and milk. Whether ingested or synthesized through the skin, vitamin D goes through two transformations. The first occurs in the liver and gives rise to calcidiol. The second takes place in the kidneys and other cells and forms calcitriol — the active hormone.
This hormone stimulates calcium and phosphorus absorption and regulates the transcription of different genes. It is also involved in insulin synthesis, heart contraction, it regulates the immune system, it has antimicrobial effects and controls cell proliferation and mechanisms of apoptosis.
The Problems of Vitamin D Insufficiency in Older People
Thus, Westernised and urban communities world-wide, even in tropical countries, have a high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D, even in sunny climes [2, 3]. This is, however, no more a new problem in the old than it is at other ages [4,5]. In 1966 it was suggested that nutritional osteomalacia might ‘contribute to the skeletal rarefaction found in old age’, a suggestion now generally accepted . These older findings make it especially regrettable that, >40 years later, hypovitaminosis D remains a public health problem at all ages, world-wide. This provides a bad start for those getting older, since ageing reduces outdoor activity, food intake and skin synthesis, and also gut absorption of vitamin D which can only worsen the problems relating to hypovitaminosis D in the elderly [7–9].
Current vitamin D status in European and Middle East countries and strategies to prevent vitamin D deficiency: a position statement of the European Calcified Tissue Society
Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) <50 nmol/L or 20 ng/mL) is common in Europe and the Middle East. It occurs in <20% of the population in Northern Europe, in 30-60% in Western, Southern and Eastern Europe and up to 80% in Middle East countries.
Risk groups include young children, adolescents, pregnant women, older people (especially the institutionalized) and non-Western immigrants.
Vitamin D deficiency 2.0: an update on the current status worldwide
Severe vitamin D deficiency with a 25(OH)D concentration below <30 nmol/L (or 12 ng/ml) dramatically increases the risk of excess mortality, infections, and many other diseases, and should be avoided whenever possible. The data on a benefit for mortality and prevention of infections, at least in severely deficient individuals, appear convincing. Vitamin D is clearly not a panacea, and is most likely efficient only in deficiency.
Vitamin D testing has exponentially increased in recent years . The definition and relevance of vitamin D deficiency are still under debate. Recent large observational data have suggested that ~40% of Europeans are vitamin D deficient, and 13% are severely deficient .
Vitamin D deficiency in Europe: pandemic?
Results: An overall pooled estimate, irrespective of age group, ethnic mix, and latitude of study populations, showed that 13.0% of the 55,844 European individuals had serum 25(OH)D concentrations <30 nmol/L on average in the year, with 17.7% and 8.3% in those sampled during the extended winter (October–March) and summer (April–November) periods, respectively. According to an alternate suggested definition of vitamin D deficiency (<50 nmol/L), the prevalence was 40.4%. Dark-skinned ethnic subgroups had much higher (3- to 71-fold) prevalence of serum 25(OH)D <30 nmol/L than did white populations.
Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is evident throughout the European population at prevalence rates that are concerning and that require action from a public health perspective. What direction these strategies take will depend on European policy but should aim to ensure vitamin D intakes that are protective against vitamin D deficiency in the majority of the European population.
Israel Population Study – Results
Through December 31, 2020, 10,295 adult patients between the ages of 18 and 95 had a recorded COVID-19 related hospitalization in the CHS database. The matching procedure was able to identify control individuals from the general population in ratio 5:1 for 6530 patients in the first cohort, and control patients in ratio 2:1 for 6953 SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals in the second cohort. The characteristics of the matched populations are shown in Table 1.
In addition, we observe interesting patterns in cohort 2, which is designed to identify drugs associated with decreased hospitalization risk in SARS-CoV-2 positive patients: several vitamin or mineral supplementation items appear to have a protective effect, in addition to vitamin D and magnesium citrate, which were identified by both cohorts: vitamin B12 combinations (OR=0.618, CI 0.399 to 0.934), multivitamins for ocular use (OR=0.616, CI 0.376 to 0.976), and calcium-zinc combinations (OR=0.000, CI 0.000 to 0.892).
It is remarkable that the protective effect of anti-cholesterol drugs was observed mostly for rosuvastatin – and in cohort 1 for pravastatin – but not for other statins. Rosuvastatin was found to significantly increase 25-OH vitamin D levels in the blood (Yavuz et al., 2009), much more than what could be observed with other statins. Yavuz and Ertugrul, 2012 suggested that the increase in 25-OH vitamin D observed following rosuvastatin treatment could be mediated by the Niemann-Pick C1 like 1 (NPC1L1) membrane transporter that is involved in intestinal absorption of vitamin D. Interestingly, the NPC1L1 membrane transporter is also the target of ezetimibe, identified by our study to decrease significantly the hospitalization risk of COVID-19 patients.
In both cohorts, we observed a significant decrease of the odds for hospitalization for COVID-19 patients treated with either vitamin D or magnesium citrate. Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be associated with increased risk for COVID-19 in multiple studies (Israel et al., 2020; Merzon et al., 2020). Magnesium is needed for vitamin D activation (Uwitonze and Razzaque, 2018) and its levels in drinking water in Israel are low, as water is produced in great part through desalination of sea water (Koren et al., 2017). The decreased hospitalization rate revealed here for patients taking magnesium supplementation may suggest a role for supplementation of this element along with vitamin D. Hospitalization risk was also found to be decreased in patients taking vitamin B12 and calcium-zinc, as identified by other studies (Ragan et al., 2020; Trasino, 2020; Wessels et al., 2020).
Ubiquinone, ezetimibe, and rosuvastatin, all related to the cholesterol synthesis pathway were associated with reduced hospitalization risk. These findings point to a promising protective effect which should be further investigated in controlled, prospective studies.
Real World Andalusian Study
COVID-19 is a major worldwide health problem because of acute respiratory distress syndrome, and mortality. Several lines of evidence have suggested a relationship between the vitamin D endocrine system and severity of COVID-19. We present a survival study on a retrospective cohort of 15,968 patients, comprising all COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Andalusia between January and November 2020. Based on a central registry of electronic health records (the Andalusian Population Health Database, BPS), prescription of vitamin D or its metabolites within 15–30 days before hospitalization were recorded. The effect of prescription of vitamin D (metabolites) for other indication previous to the hospitalization was studied with respect to patient survival.
Since 2001, the Andalusian Public Health System has been thoroughly storing all the EHRs data of Andalusian patients in the Population Health Base (BPS)25. This makes of BPS one of the largest repositories of highly detailed clinical data in the world (with over 13 million of comprehensive registries)25. BPS constitutes a unique and privileged environment to carry out large-scale RWE studies.
Here we used RWD from BPS to obtain RWE of the effectiveness of the prior prescription of cholecalciferol, calcifediol or calcitriol VDES metabolites with nutrient, pre-hormone or hormone activity respectively, on mortality rate among patients hospitalized for COVID-19.
Vitamin D endocrine system metabolites and survival The effect of cholecalciferol, calcifediol or calcitriol prescription, both aggregated (ADM) and independently, 15 and 30 days prior hospitalization, was studied with respect to the outcome of death at 30 days. As described in “Methods”, PSM was applied to the treated and untreated patients. This rendered a satisfactory covariate balance and no significant correlations between the covariates was observed in the samples paired by the PSM model (Table 2). Kaplan–Meier curves shows the survival of patients who received a prescription for ADM 15 days (Fig. 1A) and 30 days (Fig. 1B) prior hospitalization, suggesting a significant association between ADM prescription and patient survival. Kaplan–Meier curves for specific cholecalciferol, calcifediol or calcitriol prescriptions (Fig. S2) supporting the same significant association between any of the individual prescriptions and patient survival, except for calcitriol with an erratic (non-significant) behavior due the already mentioned small sample size. The comparison of specific prescriptions supports a significantly increased survival of patients who received a prescription for calcifediol than those who received a prescription for cholecalciferol (see Table 3), pointing to a stronger association of calcifediol (Vitamin D3) with patient survival.
Recently, a larger observational cohort study included patients admitted to COVID-19 wards of Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain. Calcifediol treatment using a similar schedule as in pilot study mentioned above, at hospital admission significantly reduced the need for ICU support and reduced mortality35. Out of 838 patients, 447 received calcifediol, whereas 391 were not treated at the time of hospital admission. The prescription of calcifediol was based on the ward they were assigned to, based on availability of beds. In five out of 8 wards patients received calcifediol whereas this was not the case in the other 3 wards. Treatment was otherwise similar and there were no significant baseline differences in patient characteristics. Among those treated on admission with calcifediol, 4.5% required ICU admission versus 21% in the untreated group. Logistic regression of calcifediol treatment on ICU admission, adjusted by age, gender, linearized 25OHD levels at baseline, and comorbidities showed that treated patients had a reduced risk to require ICU (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.07–0.23). Moreover, 4.7% treated 55 with calcifediol at admission died compared to 15.9% of non-treated. Adjusted results showed a reduced mortality risk with an OR 0.21 [95% CI 0.10; 57 0.43]. In addition, in a retrospective study reported of patients hospitalized for laboratory confirmed COVID-19 infection, patients from five hospitals in Southern Spain received or not calcifediol (similar schedule mentioned formerly). Patients from one hospital received the option to receive calcifediol whereas this option was not available in the other hospitals. General treatment was otherwise very similar. In-hospital mortality during the first 30 days was 17.5%. The OR of death for patients receiving calc