Free vitamin D supplements are sent to over two million clinically vulnerable people in Englandthis winter. Over 80% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have a vitamin D deficiency compared to the general population. In a small study aA high dose of vitamin D appeared to reduce the severityof COVID-19. While someScientists disagreewhether vitamin D should be more widely used, aConsensus emergesthat we should all be taking vitamin D supplements.
However, the UK should go further and fortify staple foods like flour and milk with vitamin D, which is common in Canada, Sweden, Finland and Australia. After all, research shows that a third of people Don’t take the pills they get. And many of the vulnerable people the pills are sent to take several other drugs and suffer from ailments that Increase memory loss so may be confused. Many of the people in need of it most are not going to take the free pills.
A century ago over 80% of children in industrialized Europe and the northern hemisphere there was bone damage from rickets. My grandfather grew up in Canada in the 1910s, had rickets and lived his life on arched legs. Rickets is caused by vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is the “sun vitamin” because the body produces it when the skin is exposed to sunlight. In Canada’s long, cold winters, not much skin is exposed to the sun.
In the 1930s, a number of countries, including Canada, encouraged the fortification of essential foods with vitamin D. Overnight, cases of vitamin D deficiency (and rickets) almost completely disappeared. Unfortunately, with some evidence to support this trend, this trend could easily be reversed Rickets rates are increasing now.
People in the UK need vitamin D even more than in Canada. Most of the inhabited parts of Canada are south of Great Britain. In the UK, the days are shorter in winter and there is even less time to expose your skin to the sun. Most people go to school or work before the sun comes up and leave their school or office after they go down. Your skin is never exposed to the sun. These conditions are ripe for vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency seems to be common and affects some one billion people in the world, one Quarter of adults, and a tenth of the children In the United Kingdom. Severe vitamin D deficiency (less than 12 nanograms / milliliter in the blood) is rare because the diet has improved since my grandfather’s time. Oily fish, red meat, eggs, some mushrooms, and fortified breakfast cereals contain vitamin D. However, a mild deficiency (less than 20 nanograms / milliliter in the blood) is common and increases the risk of a number of diseases ranging from bones to blood Problems add up to breathing problems.
The intake of vitamin D is reduced The risk of fractures improves muscle function and may even reduce the risk of death from some cancers. A large study of 7,000 patients found that women did that Vitamin D during pregnancy has a lower risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, low birth weight, and possibly postpartum bleeding. A study of nearly 100,000 people found this Taking vitamin D supplements reduces premature death by a small amount. Given all these benefits, why should you oppose fortifying essential foods with vitamin D?
Libertarians might say that people should choose whether or not to take vitamin D. Force-fed people with vitamin D could violate their liberty and raise taxes. Too much vitamin D can also cause damage. It increases the risk of a number of things These include too much urine, thirst, dizziness, headaches, bone pain, kidney stones, and even liver failure. It can also interact with some prescription drugs, such as statins. Some studies also suggest that fortified milk tastes different.
Finding the middle ground
There are simple ways to benefit from attachment while avoiding its pitfalls. Some of the objections are not based on evidence. For example, it hardly costs anything to fortify staple foods with vitamin D. And an economic analysis in the journal Nature found that the economic benefits (saving money because fewer people are vitamin D deficient) outweigh the costs.
To avoid vitamin D being forced upon the population, the government must recommend and subsidize fortification. Companies that have added vitamin D to their milk and bread could advertise it according to Public Health England guidelines.
To avoid overdosing, foods should not be over-fortified. The World Health Organization has Guidelines for Safe Dosages of Vitamin D. Attachment. In Canada and the US, milk is fortified at the rate of about 1 mcg / 100 ml. Drinking a cup of milk provides roughly 3mcg of vitamin D, which is just under you Third of what is currently recommended In the United Kingdom. You’d have to drink 100 cups of fortified milk getting harmed by vitamin D. Giving people choice also addresses the objection that fortified food tastes different.
After all, anyone taking medications that might interact with vitamin D should tell their doctors if they’re consuming a lot of fortified foods. However, this is also not a problem in countries where fortification of foods is mandatory.
Fortifying essential foods with reasonable amounts of vitamin D is a cheap measure that would have small but important health benefits. It could be reached before the next flu season – or another wave of COVID-19.