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Monday, November 13, 2006

Vitamin D deficiency linked to tuberculosis, flu and other respiratory diseases

"..the researchers point to studies showing that in winter, colds, flu, and other respiratory diseases are more common and more likely to be deadly than they are in summer. During winter, ultraviolet-light exposure tends to be low because people spend more time indoors and the atmosphere filters out more of the sun's rays, especially at mid and high latitudes.
Cannell's group cites a 1997 study showing that the rate of pneumonia in Ethiopian children with rickets, and therefore a likely vitamin D deficiency, was 13 times as high as in children without that disease. The researchers also point to five studies since the 1930s that have linked reduced risks of infectious disease to dietary supplementation with cod liver oil, a rich source of vitamin D."
Gary Moller Comments:
It has always fascinated me why, in summer, there is less flu, why we are happier and why more babies are conceived.
A boys' school in Palmerson North. NZ, has suffered a terrifying outbreak of tuberculosis that has spread like wild fire through the pupils. Cases are now turning up in a nearby girls' school. Doctors in sunny Waikato have recently reported an upsurge in cases of rickets while doctors here in Wellington recently reported disturbingly low levels of vitamin D in immigrant populations. Is there a link? How could third world diseases like these be turning up in a country like New Zealand?
"Cold-weather wear and the sun's angle in the winter sky limit how much ultraviolet light reaches the skin. This can add up to a deficiency in production of vitamin D, which might explain why respiratory infections are common and severe in winter." (Quoted from the same report above).
I believe these Drs are dead right: Keeping our children swaddled head to toe in clothes and not allowing them to go outside to play in the sun is at the heart of the problem. Whether it be the flu, TB, meningococcal disease, rickets, osteoporosis or depression, our first defence is ensuring that we have adequate vitamin D levels.
Back in the old days, the sickly (including those with TB) were sent up to the fresh air of the mountainside sanitorium. Was the real health benefits from the exposure to unfiltered UVB?
To date, every person who has consulted me about a chronic ailment and subsequently had a blood test of vitamin D levels, has come up as deficient, or dangerously close to being so.
Note: If you have a blood test and your Dr prescribes a vitmain D supplements, ensure that your blood levels are closely monitored because it is easy to overdose. Getting D from the sun is safe because the production mechanism turns off once levels get high - the body is very smart!

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