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Matt Hancock falsely claims that vitamin D doesn't work with Covid-19


Health Secretary Matt Hancock was urged today to clarify his facts after shooting down vitamin D as a potential coronavirus treatment, despite mounting evidence from around the world to suggest it works.

Experts have been calling on officials to investigate the effects of the immune system-boosting nutrient on Covid-19 patients for months after a mountain of research showed a link to vitamin D deficiency.

Mr Hancock told the House of Commons last week that he turned green on a government-funded "study" examining vitamin D and found it "appears to have no effects."

But officials have since admitted that no clinical trials have taken place, claiming it was a slip of the tongue from the Minister of Health – who spoke out strongly against face masks in the spring, claiming they were "extremely weak" at stopping the spread of Covid-19 .

According to national surveys in the UK, roughly one in five has low vitamin D levels, the equivalent of 13 million Britons.

Mr. Hancock has now agreed to meet experts to discuss the growing case of the vitamin the body produces when exposed to the sun. But his funky vitamin D discharge has sparked anger among scientists and MPs, who said today that time is running out for ministers to act as the “sun vitamin” levels drop dramatically in the fall and winter.

Experts said his comments showed "incredible ignorance" while Liberal Democrat MP Layla Morgan told MailOnline that the foreign secretary should "listen, not dismiss". She added, “I hope Matt Hancock will be less funky about potential treatments in the future and clarify his facts before making such comments. We are in a crisis. It is time for politicians to stop playing science and listen to the experts. & # 39;

A mountain of studies has found that an overwhelming number of people who test positive for Covid-19 do not have enough vitamin D in their bodies, and the sickest patients are often deficient. Scientists have not yet been able to determine whether the lack of nutrients makes people more susceptible to the disease or whether a malaise leads to a drop in vitamin D levels.

But vitamin D supplements are safe, cheap, and readily available – they cost only 6p a pill and are sold in most pharmacies, supermarkets, and health food stores – which has puzzled experts why Mr. Hancock would fire them so quickly.

But Matt Hancock told the House of Commons last week that he turned green on a government-funded "study" examining vitamin D and found it "appears to have no effects."

Vitamin D supplements are safe, cheap, and readily available - they cost just 6 pence per pill and are sold in most pharmacies, supermarkets, and health food stores

Vitamin D supplements are safe, cheap, and readily available – they cost just 6 pence per pill and are sold in most pharmacies, supermarkets, and health food stores

In addition to dietary supplements, vitamin D is also available through foods such as fatty fish, red meat, and eggs (right). A Singaporean study earlier this year of almost 800 people found that almost 99% of the Covid 19 patients who died had a vitamin D deficiency (left).

In addition to dietary supplements, vitamin D is also available through foods such as fatty fish, red meat, and eggs (right). A Singaporean study earlier this year of almost 800 people found that almost 99% of the Covid 19 patients who died had a vitamin D deficiency (left).

It comes after research in Spain that MailOnline treated last month that suggested supplementing patients in Covid-19 hospital with the vitamin that saves lives.

With very limited treatment options – only a handful of steroids have been shown to help Covid-19 patients – the UK government has had to pull back economically crippling and socially restrictive lockdown measures. Ministers have threatened a second lockdown unless the virus' current trajectory is restricted.

If vitamin D has been shown to work, it could be an inexpensive and easy way to keep the British safe and keep the nation going until a vaccine is ready.

A study by Tehran University in Iran and Boston University analyzed data from 235 hospitalized patients with Covid-19. Patients with sufficient vitamin D - of at least 30 ng / ml - were 51.5 percent less likely to die from the disease. Although no one died under the age of 40 in the study, deaths (red) were more common in people with vitamin D deficiency (below the black line) of all ages

A study by Tehran University in Iran and Boston University analyzed data from 235 hospitalized patients with Covid-19. Patients with sufficient vitamin D – of at least 30 ng / ml – were 51.5 percent less likely to die from the disease. Although no one died under the age of 40 in the study, deaths (red) were more common in people with vitamin D deficiency (below the black line) of all ages

A correlation graph showing the relationship between Viamin D levels (below, measured in nmol / L) and numbers of coronavirus infections by the University of East Anglia. Countries with low vitamin D levels tend to have the highest case rates per million - but the graph is from a study in May where outbreaks looked very different than they are now and testing in most countries was patchy

A correlation graph showing the relationship between Viamin D levels (below, measured in nmol / L) and numbers of coronavirus infections by the University of East Anglia. Countries with low vitamin D levels tend to have the highest case rates per million – but the graph is from a study in May where outbreaks looked very different than they are now and testing in most countries was patchy

WHAT HAVE STUDIES SHOWED ON VITAMIN D AND COVID-19?

When? September.

By whom? Cordoba University in Spain.

What have scientists studied? 50 Covid-19 hospital patients with Covid-19 received vitamin D. Their health results were compared with 26 volunteers in a control group who were not given the tablets.

What did you find? Only one of the 50 patients required intensive care and none died. Half of 26 virus sufferers who did not take vitamin D were later admitted to intensive care and two died.

What were the limits of the study? Small pool of volunteers. The patients' vitamin D levels were not checked prior to admission. Comorbidities were not taken into account.

When? September.

By whom? University of Chicago.

What have scientists studied? The vitamin D levels of 500 Americans were tested. The researchers then compared the volunteers' scores with the number of coronaviruses caught.

What did you find? 60 percent higher Covid-19 rates in people with a low “sun vitamin” content.

What were the limits of the study?

The researchers didn't look for any other composing factors. Unclear whether or not volunteers were vitamin D deficient at the time of their coronavirus testing. People's age, occupation, and place of residence – factors that greatly increase the likelihood of contracting the virus – were not taken into account.

When? September.

By whom? Tehran University in Iran and Boston University.

What have scientists studied? Analyzed data from 235 hospitalized patients with Covid-19.

What did you find? Patients with sufficient vitamin D – of at least 30 ng / ml – were 51.5 percent less likely to die from the disease. They also had a significantly lower risk of getting seriously ill or needing ventilation. Patients who were abundant in nutrients also had less inflammation – often a fatal side effect of Covid-19.

What were the limits of the study? Confounding factors such as smoking and socio-economic status were not recorded in all patients and could have an impact on the severity of the disease.

When? July.

By whom? Tel Aviv University, Israel.

What have scientists studied? In 782 people who tested positive for coronavirus, the vitamin D level before the infection was assessed retrospectively and compared with healthy people.

What did you find? People with vitamin D levels below 30 ng / ml – optimal – were 45 percent more likely to test positive and 95 percent more likely to be hospitalized.

What were the limits of the study? I haven't looked at underlying health conditions or checked vitamin D levels at the time of infection.

When? June.

By whom? Free University of Brussels.

What have scientists studied? Comparison of vitamin D levels in almost 200 Covid-19 hospital patients with a control group of more than 2,000 healthy people.

What did you find? Men who were hospitalized with the infection were significantly more likely to be vitamin D deficient than healthy men of the same age. The deficiency rates were 67 percent in the COVID-19 patient group and 49 percent in the control group. The same has not been found for women.

What were the limits of the study? Independent scientists say that blood levels of vitamin D drop when people develop a serious illness that was not included in the study. This suggests that it is the disease that results in lower levels of vitamin D in the blood in this study, and not the other way around.

When? June.

By whom? Inha University in Incheon, South Korea.

What have scientists studied? 50 hospital patients with Covid-19 were examined for all essential vitamins and compared with a control group.

What did you find? 76 percent of them had a vitamin D deficiency, and 24 percent of the Covid-19 patients and only 7 percent in the control group had a severe vitamin D deficiency (<10 ng / dl).

What were the limits of the study?

Small samples and researchers have never explained that vitamin levels go down with illness.

When? June.

By whom?. Independent scientist in Indonesia.

What have scientists studied? Checked vitamin D levels in 780 Covid-19 hospital patients.

What did you find? Almost 99% of the patients who died were vitamin D deficient. Of patients with vitamin D levels above 30 ng / ml – considered optimal – only percent died.

What were the limits of the study? It has not been peer-reviewed, a process that often reveals errors in studies.

When? Can.

By whom? University of Glasgow.

What have scientists studied? Vitamin D levels in 449 people in the British biobank who had confirmed Covid-19 infection.

What did you find? Vitamin D was associated with an increased risk of infection – but not after adaptation to confounding factors such as ethnicity. The team concluded that the results showed no possible association between vitamin D concentrations and the risk of Covid-19 infection.

What were the limits of the study? Vitamin D levels were taken 10 to 14 years earlier.

When? Can.

By whom? University of East Anglia.

What have scientists studied? The average vitamin D levels in populations of 20 European countries were compared with the Covid-19 infection and mortality rate at the time.

What did you find? The mean vitamin D levels in each country were "strongly associated" with higher Covid-19 cases and deaths. The authors said at the time: "The population most at risk for COVID-19 is also the one with the greatest vitamin D deficit."

What were the limits of the study? The number of cases in each country was influenced by the number of tests performed and the different measures each country took to prevent the spread of infection. And it was all about correlation, not causality.

When? Can.

By whom? Northwestern University.

What have scientists studied? Crisp data from dozens of studies around the world that included vitamin D levels in Covid-19 patients.

What did you find? Serious deficiency patients are twice as likely to have serious complications and die.

What were the limits of the study? Cases and deaths in each country were affected by the number of tests performed.

Mr. Hancock discussed the potential of Vitamin D last week in response to a question from Dr. Rupa Huq, Labor MP for Ealing and Acton Central, abolished.

He said, "Vitamin D is one of the many things that we've looked at to see if it reduces the incidence or effects of coronaviruses. The result was that it doesn't seem to have any effect. & # 39;

Mr. Hancock appeared to be referring to a review of the evidence conducted by the National Institute for Excellence in Health and Care (NICE), a branch of the Department of Health.

NICE conducted a review of a limited number of studies that were published by June. A stronger immune system has been found to provide better protection against Covid-19, and it has been admitted that vitamin D boosts immune function.

However, it was not convinced that there was enough evidence that giving doses of vitamins to already sick Covid-19 patients was beneficial.

Dr. Huq said in a Rules of Procedure in Parliament on Monday this week, “(Mr Hancock) said he had gone through a process and there had been no impact.

& # 39; It turns out there was no trial. The word "trial" implies new evidence, not reheated scraps. "

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Morgan told MailOnline: “This government needs to listen, not fire.

& # 39; I hope Matt Hancock will be less funky about potential treatments in the future and clarify his facts before making such comments.

"We are in a crisis. It is time for politicians to stop playing science and listen to the experts."

Professor Asif Ahmed, Vice Chancellor of Health at Aston University in Birmingham, said it was "illogical" to say that vitamin D has no effect on disease control.

He told MailOnline: “We cannot expect the Foreign Minister to know everything. So we can't blame him for all of this, but questions need to be asked as to why none of his experts researched this properly.

“Even if there is a glimmer of hope, vitamin D supplements are safe, there is no danger in taking them unless people are taking way too much.

“Even if taking vitamin D only reduces the chance of getting very sick with Covid-19, we should do it. The amount of millions we spend on vaccines, public health interventions, and other treatments – why don't we keep everyone taking supplements over the winter?

“Even if we don't have conclusive data, we should continue. The government doesn't have conclusive dates on how to wear face masks yet, but we're wearing them and they're probably helping a bit.

“We cannot ask for a large study on vitamin D, then we wait for years and withdraw. Then it will be too late. & # 39;

In addition to dietary supplements, vitamin D is also available in foods, mainly in fatty fish. Black and ethnic minorities (BAME) tend to be deficient because darker skin types have a harder time absorbing the nutrient from sunlight.

For example, eighty percent of people with a South Asian background are nutritionally deficient. Some believe this could be one of the reasons BAME people are at a higher risk of dying from the disease, but this has yet to be proven.

Current advice from Public Health England and the NHS is that everyone should consider taking a 10 microgram daily supplement – the amount found in a small fillet of salmon – during the winter months when the sun is hard to come by – to take.

"This is because you may not get enough vitamin D from sunlight if you are indoors for most of the day," advises the NHS, saying that supplements help keep bones healthy.

The NHS adds, “There have been some reports of vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus. There is currently insufficient evidence to support this. & # 39;

Charles Bangham, chairman of immunology at Imperial College London, told The Times, “PHE already recommends that everyone take a daily vitamin D supplement, but the message is not reaching a large segment of the population.

“As we get closer to autumn and winter, vitamin D levels will fall and more of the population will be deficient.

“On that basis, everything that needs to be done must be done quickly. We have nothing to lose, but much to gain by eliminating the shortage. & # 39;

Studies linking vitamin D deficiency to poorer health outcomes from Covid-19 have been mounting since the pandemic earlier this year.

The growing body of evidence prompted Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, head of midwifery at NHS England, to send a memo to all maternity wards in June warning that "women with low vitamin D levels may be more susceptible to coronavirus".

U.S. government's foremost infectious disease expert Antony Fauci has admitted that he takes vitamin D to help boost his immune system against viruses.

However, the most promising study on the effects of vitamin D on Covid-19 was carried out by the University of Cordoba in Spain and published last month.

The researchers gave high doses of calcifediol – a type of vitamin D supplement – to 50 patients hospitalized with the disease.

They received 1,000 micrograms of the supplement over the course of a week, with 550 mcg on the first day and two booster doses of 270 mcg on days three and seven. The dose was much higher than the NHS recommended weekly limit of 70 µg.

The scientists compared the health of the participants with 26 volunteers in a control group who were not given the tablets that are usually prescribed for patients with thyroid or kidney problems.

Only one patient given calcifediol became ill enough to be admitted to the intensive care unit, while half of the control group were admitted to the intensive care unit and two died.

There were no deaths in volunteers who received the vitamin, and all 50 patients were eventually discharged at the end of the study.

Independent scientists, including some from NICE, said the results were promising, but the study's methods were too flawed.

For example, the experts did not measure vitamin D levels before or after the drug was administered. The underlying health status of the participants was not defined.

Experts now believe Covid-19 is causing a catastrophic build-up of a chemical called bradykinin, which makes blood vessels leaky and increases the risk of inflammation.

Calcifediol is one of the few hormones that regulate bradykinin, and it can also keep the immune system from going into overdrive. However, this is just a theory and has not yet been proven.

Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, told MailOnline, “My general stance is that if there is no clear view of vitamin D after 6 months of debate, there is nothing in it.

& # 39; The bradykinin theory sounds plausible, but it is just one of hundreds of factors caused by the infection, and many cytokines also cause blood vessel leakage (which is why you have hemorrhagic shock with multiple viral diseases). However. Hancock made it clear. & # 39;

However, ingesting too much vitamin D can damage bones and organs over time, and scientists have deterred people from self-medication.

Meanwhile, thanks to a new test, the British can find out whether they are deficient in vitamin D in just fifteen minutes.

The groundbreaking DIY kit, marketed as the first of its kind worldwide, works with just a few drops of blood from your finger.

It works just like diabetics check their blood sugar levels, and there are similar kits available to check for Covid-19 antibodies.

The blood is mixed with a solution before being fed into a 10 cm device, which analyzes the sample to determine vitamin D levels. Users can find out their results through the Your Personalized Vitamin (YPV) app by scanning the device through their phone.

It is the first vitamin D test kit to provide a quantitative result, which means that the result will provide an accurate reading, not just a high or low value.

Other do-it-yourself vitamin D tests, which don't give a quantitative result but give a basic reading like a pregnancy test, sell online for around £ 10. YPV's home kit costs £ 40.

For years, private clinics have offered Brits the opportunity to use similar tests to find out whether they are deficient in the vitamin. However, it can take up to a week to get results because they need to be analyzed in a laboratory.

YPV offers plans to tailor test results to individual needs and advises deficient Britons on exactly how much nutrient they need.

Chris Chapman, CEO of manufacturer YPV, said: “We have seen ample evidence that vitamin D has a positive and sometimes life-saving influence on people with severe symptoms of the coronavirus. It is not just the abundance of evidence that points to this conclusion.

“We fundamentally disagree with the Minister of Health on this matter. His comments show incredible ignorance. We urge him to practice his well-trodden mantra by following the science that predominantly points to the benefits of vitamin D in fighting the coronavirus. We are deeply disappointed with his comments. & # 39;

A NEW FINGER PRICK TEST CAN DETECT VITAMIN D DEFECTS IN JUST 15 MINUTES

Thanks to a new test, Britons can now find out if they are deficient in vitamin D in just fifteen minutes.

The groundbreaking DIY kit, marketed as the first of its kind worldwide, works with just a few drops of blood from your finger.

It works just like diabetics check their blood sugar levels, and there are similar kits available to check for Covid-19 antibodies.

The blood is mixed with a solution before being fed into a 10 cm device, which analyzes the sample to determine vitamin D levels. Users can find out their results through the Your Personalized Vitamin (YPV) app by scanning the device through their phone.

It is the first vitamin D test kit to provide a quantitative result, which means that the result will provide an accurate reading, not just a high or low value.

Other do-it-yourself vitamin D tests that don't give a quantitative result, but give a basic reading like a pregnancy test, sell online for around £ 10. YPV's home kit costs £ 40.

For years, private clinics have offered Brits the opportunity to use similar tests to find out whether they are deficient in the vitamin. However, it can take up to a week to see results as they need to be analyzed in a laboratory.

YPV offers plans to tailor test results to individual needs and advises deficient Britons on exactly how much nutrient they need.

Chris Chapman, CEO of manufacturer YPV, said: “We have seen ample evidence that vitamin D has a positive and sometimes life-saving effect on people suffering from severe symptoms of the coronavirus. It is not just the abundance of evidence that points to this conclusion.

“We fundamentally disagree with the Minister of Health on this matter. His comments show incredible ignorance. We urge him to practice his well-trodden mantra by following the science that predominantly points to the benefits of vitamin D in fighting the coronavirus. We are deeply disappointed with his comments. & # 39;

VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY & # 39; COVID-19 INCREASE RISK OF DEATH & # 39; FOR BAME PEOPLE

BAME patients may have a higher risk of dying from the coronavirus because they are more likely to be vitamin D deficient, scientists claim.

The pandemic is causing more black, Asian, and ethnic minority people to die when they contract the coronavirus.

The reasons are still unknown and are likely to be numerous and complex. However, some experts believe that a lack of vitamin D could play a role.

People with darker skin need to spend more time in sunlight to get the same amount of vitamin D as people with lighter skin.

For this reason, the NHS suggests that people of African, African-Caribbean, or South Asian backgrounds could benefit from daily supplementation year round.

Vitamin D may have protective effects against severe coronavirus by regulating the immune system, and deficiencies in it have been linked to other respiratory viruses.

However, the largest study examining the link between BAME, Covid-19 and vitamin D in a UK population found no evidence.

William Henley, a professor of medical statistics at the University of Exeter, told MailOnline the link was worth exploring.

He said: & # 39; Preliminary research suggests vitamin D levels may also affect the risk of people with severe COVID-19 infections.

& # 39; In the UK and Northern Europe, vitamin D deficiency is a public health concern because UV radiation (UVB) is not intense enough for vitamin D synthesis to be intense during the winter months.

"This is a particular problem for people with dark skin, such as people of African, African-Caribbean or South Asian descent, who need to spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as people with lighter skin. "

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