H1N1 and Vitamin D
It seems to be medical fact that we get more cases of the flu in the winter than in the summer. I have never had the flu in the summer or personally know anyone that has had the flu in the summer. However, everyone that I know has had the flu in the winter. It only seems logical that there is a seasonal occurrence that is driving this real phenomenon.
Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council has designated a complete newsletter to the understanding back May, 2009, H1N1 Flu and Vitamin D. I referred to this newsletter in my first article on the flu and vitamin D, Another Pandemic, H1N1, Protect Yourself. Now Dr. Cannell gives us an update about children in his September 2009 Newsletter and how it is that children that are deficient with vitamin D are most likely at risk of getting the flu. Vitamin D Studies of Interest
I am totally with Dr. Cannell. How can we simply just stand by and watch children suffer from this disease when we know that more than fifty to seventy percent of children are deficient depending on which study you chose to read. If you have children, be sure to keep them replete in vitamin D by following Dr. Cannell directions in this October 2008 newsletter Vitamin D in Pediatrics. Under vitamin D and dosage he states that in general that children need about 1000 IU of D3 for every 25 lbs of body weight per day. I found this amount to be effective in adults as well. I weigh 235 lbs and take 10,000 IU each day that I do not go into the sun and every day between the end of September and the end of March when we are in ‘vitamin D winter’.
So what are our country and the health organizations doing about this vitamin D deficiency and the relation to the flu? Not much! There is hope however as the Public Health Agency of Canada has decided to take the vitamin D level of people having the H1N1 virus. This is really encouraging as Canada takes its lead for supplementations levels from the Institute of Medicine, IOM, here in the US. If Canada confirms this finding that low levels of vitamin D are significant in relation to the flu then maybe the US will take action. But here again, I am with Dr. Cannell, how many children have to die before we stop depending on just acquired immunity through flu shots and build our innate immunity through doing what is natural to us. We must remember that the US is slow to act as the Canadian Cancer Institute requested all Canadians take a minimum of 1000 IU of D3 per day and the US did not follow.
You may read the story on the website of the Vitamin D Society of Canada: http://www.vitamindsociety.org/
Story from the Globe and Mail. http://www.vitamindsociety.org/news_article.php?id=26
The story broke here in the US by Nutraingrediants-usa.com and emaxhealth.com: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Canada-examines-vitamin-D-for-swine-flu-protection
And then there is this article in how the US should follow Canada’s lead from the Health Sciences Institute in Baltimore: http://hsibaltimore.com/2009/08/24/h1n1-prevention/
You know the thing that is most interesting is one of the references that is driving the Canadian study is a report from 1946 that shows evidence that persons with low vitamin D levels were more likely to have the flu. Why have we waited so long to investigate!!??
On the heels of this comes the study from Oregon State University that states that primates have kept the vitamin D innate immunity system in place for 60 million years! Here is the story, “Key feature of immune system survived in humans, other primates for 60 million years”, from Eurek Alert. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-08/osu-kfo081809.php
Now what pops into my mind as I read this is Linus Pauling’s writings on vitamin C. It was very clear that only primates and guinea pigs do not make their own vitamin C. So why is it that the vitamin D immune system has survived in primates and not other mammals? Maybe this is the system that has taken the place of the vitamin C system in primates. So what do we do about it? We tell people for the last fifty years to get out of the sun!!!! I know that this may be somewhat of a leap, but I do not think it is much of one considering the research on vitamin D immunity.
You should read again this paragraph about vitamin D immunity from my post, A Tale of Two Women: “Vitamin D3, it seems works, along several pathways to help heal disease. Number one it helps at a genetic level to tell immature tumor cells that they are just that and to stop growing or cellular apoptosis. The D3 also helps the blood supply network that is feeding the tumor to stop growing from a genetic level because this is not the normal design of the body or angiogenesis. Also it raises the level of innate immunity so the body develops appropriate defensins such as cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides, phagocytes, and neutrofil granulocites that help destroy and adsorb ‘bad cells’ and ‘foreign bodies’ in the blood system. There is also an aid to T-cell regulation in this complex system of immunity. And if you are taking chemo one of the problems is thrombosis and vitamin D3 helps to control this issue as well.” What this paragraph says is that vitamin D raises the innate immune system to fight all pathogens including viruses. This reminds me that I need to do a post on the immune system and vitamin D. There is really some fascinating research out there – coming soon.
So maybe the true magic in healing comes from a balance of giving the body what it needs. I believe that Dr. Cannell and Dr. Pauling are both correct and that in primates that vitamin D is a greater fighter of viruses than vitamin C. This may be just the opposite for non-primate mammals where vitamin C immune system is more important than the vitamin D system. Non-primates make their own vitamin C and primates and guinea pigs do not make vitamin C. This article from WebMD seems to support my understanding: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20090223/low-vitamin-d-levels-linked-to-colds You know Dr. Pauling was reported to have taken between 12 grams to 20 grams of vitamin C per day. His contention was that the less colds and other infections that you have the longer you live. He lived to be 93. Imagine how long he may have lived if he had taken 5 to 10 thousand IU’s of D3 as well. What a headache that we may cause for government to solve in a population of healthy ‘really’ old people!!! I am sure that as soon as the government makes a proclamation to take more vitamin D that the retirement age will be raised at least 10 years.
Anyway, what should we do for ourselves and our children. Be sure that they get enough of vitamin C and vitamin D this winter and I suspect if you do this we will have many happy endings.
Go into the sun this winter through supplementation!!!!!!!!!!! Pandemic Survivor