The first part of this video is a little bit technical, but don’t be put off by all the scientific names. Keep watching and you’ll learn why Vitamin D may be useful against our favourite virus. You’ll also learn about its importance for other conditions, such as osteoporosis. I most definitely did not know that.
The thing I found most interesting was the explanation about why people in different geographic locations may be Vitamin D deficient. Apparently, it’s all due to the season, the angle of the sun as it hits the earth, and a country’s distance from the equator.
The video talks about the USA, but I was interested in Australia, so I went looking for a map of the world showing the equator. Then I copied the area from the equator to roughly the middle of the USA. This was the distance from the equator that gets sufficient Vitamin D in summer and winter.
Next, I placed the copy next to Australia. This is what it looks like:
Zooming in on my home town of Melbourne, we get this:
I drew the green line across from the subset map to see if Melbourne does, in fact, fall within the area that receives enough Vitamin D in winter. It does, but only just, and Tasmania seems to miss out entirely.
So yes, we all need Vitamin D, for a variety of health reasons, but no, not all of us can get it from the sun during winter. And if we go from house to car to office and back again, then there’s a good chance we won’t be getting enough Vitamin D, even in summer.
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, apart from how to bake bread, it’s that we can’t rely on technology to save us from everything. Sometimes, living an old fashioned, healthy lifestyle really is the best medicine.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably reached a point where you’d like to forget about Covid-19 altogether, so sorry, but these developments could be important.
As always, my source is Dr John Campbell. You can find his latest Youtube video here. The three things that worry me from this video concern:
the implications of skin colour
the new inflammatory syndrome in children
the results of Germany’s cautious re-opening
If you’ve watched Dr John’s videos before there’s a good chance that you’ve already heard his views on the role of vitamin D in possibly easing the severity of Covid-19. As people with darker skin produce vitamin D more slowly, he has been advocating that they be tested for vitamin D deficiency and prescribed supplements if necessary.
As someone with olive skin who was tested for vitamin D some years ago – and found to be deficient – I’ve made it a point to get out into the sunshine more. The connection to race though, that has made me feel a little uncomfortable. I hate racism in all its forms because I had a tiny taste of it as a kid in ‘White Australia’.
But…this statistical data from the UK is too stark to ignore:
The graph shows data that has been adjusted for socio economic factors and other risk factors that could skew the results. Despite this, the stats show that there is a continuum of increased risk based on skin colour. Basically, people of mixed race are just as likely to die of Covid-19 as the control group, which is white people.
From there, however, the likelihood of dying increases as skin colour darkens. People with black skin colour are shown to be twice as likely to die of Covid-19 as white people. And this is the graph that has been adjusted for other, known risk factors.
There may be some other, unknown risk factor at work, but if there is the slightest chance that skin colour, and hence vitamin D production is involved, then taking vitamin D could save lives.
There has been well documented research done on vitamin D and the effect it may have on protecting cells from viruses:
‘Vitamin D has long been recognized as essential to the skeletal system. Newer evidence suggests that it also plays a major role regulating the immune system, perhaps including immune responses to viral infection. Interventional and observational epidemiological studies provide evidence that vitamin D deficiency may confer increased risk of influenza and respiratory tract infection.’
I’m no expert on nutrition and vitamins, but it seems clear to me that vitamin D may save the lives of those most at risk. If that’s true, it must be acknowledged and used.
Inflammatory syndrome in children
So far, this new syndrome is quite rare – about 20 cases in the UK and 64 in the US – but it has been associated with Covid-19 so parents should be aware of it. The screenshot below was taken from Dr John’s video:
No one knows exactly what connection this new syndrome has to Covid-19, but any connection is worrying.
The syndrome has been named: Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome.
Re-opening in Germany
As Australia is also looking to cautiously ease the lockdown that’s protected us so well, I found the results from Germany less heartening than Dr John. The statistics shown are for only the first ten days since the lockdown in Germany was officially eased:
Even if every German citizen immediately raced out and kissed everyone they met, the incubation period for Covid-19 is between 2 and 9 days, give or take. As such, the numbers of new cases are not likely to rise exponentially for a week or two yet. In other words, I don’t think we’ve seen the true effect of the easing in Germany. Not yet.
I may be overly pessimistic, but I’m seriously scared that money, and human impatience, will give rise to a second wave of the virus, a second wave that will be significantly worse than the first.
During the Spanish Flu pandemic, the second wave was caused by a mutation in the original virus that made it much more virulent:
‘Reported cases of Spanish flu dropped off over the summer of 1918, and there was hope at the beginning of August that the virus had run its course. In retrospect, it was only the calm before the storm. Somewhere in Europe, a mutated strain of the Spanish flu virus had emerged that had the power to kill a perfectly healthy young man or woman within 24 hours of showing the first signs of infection.’
The Covid-19 virus does not appear to be mutating yet, but the more people that are infected, the greater the likelihood that one of them will host a mutated version of the virus.
Scientists all over the world are trying to develop a vaccine that will stop the spread of Covid-19, but they’re not there yet. They need more time.
I believe it’s up to us, and our governments, to do everything in our power to slow the spread of this virus. Not just to reduce the number of people dying from it, but also to reduce the chance that it will mutate. If the Spanish Flu is anything to go by, that mutation will not be benign.
I truly hate to be a Cassandra, but I’m really scared that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Covid-19 is a brand new virus, and as such, 99.999999% of us have no immunity to it. Because this virus is so completely new, we don’t have vaccines or medications against it either. That means the only weapon we have is the immune system all of us are born with.
The immune system is mostly centred around the thyroid which produces cells that seek out viruses and bacteria, chop them up and teach other cells how to fight them. This is more or less how we become immune to new viruses and bacteria.
That explanation is at about kindergarten level, but it’s enough to explain why having the immune system working at peak efficiency is so important. It is always our first line of defence, and with the Covid-19 virus, it is also our only line of defence.
So what affects the efficiency of our immune system?
For people with no underlying diseases, the immune system gets most of what it needs from good food, adequate rest and a bit of healthy exercise. This is why about 80% of those who catch Covid-19 will experience very little in terms of ‘disease’.
Nevertheless, even young, healthy people can reduce the length and severity of their infection by supporting their immune systems while they are sick. This involves eating healthy food instead of junk food, getting lots of rest, drinking lots of fluids [NOT alcoholic fluids!], and taking some of the natural boosters you’ll find here.
I’m no nutritionist so I’m only going to talk about two things that I know something about – Vitamin D and Iodine.
‘Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones regulate many important biochemical reactions,’
‘They [thyroid hormones] are also required for proper skeletal and central nervous system development in fetuses and infants .’
‘Iodine may have other physiological functions in the body as well. For example, it appears to play a role in immune response’.
In Australia, our old, mineral depleted soils do not contain much iodine which is why we are encouraged to used iodised table salt – i.e. salt that has had iodine added to it. It is also why our bread now has added iodine.
This lack of naturally occurring iodine means that many of us could be slightly deficient in iodine. If that’s the case, then our immune systems are not going to be performing at peak efficiency during this Covid-19 pandemic.
Where do you find Iodine?
As I mentioned before, in Australia, iodine is added to iodised table salt and bread. It also occurs naturally in fish, seafood and seaweed. So in theory, if you use iodised table salt, eat lots of bread and also eat fish, seafood and seaweed, your iodine levels should be fine.
Unused iodine is peed out:
‘Iodine in food and iodized salt is present in several chemical forms including sodium and potassium salts, inorganic iodine (I2), iodate, and iodide, the reduced form of iodine . Iodine rarely occurs as the element, but rather as a salt; for this reason, it is referred to as iodide and not iodine. Iodide is quickly and almost completely absorbed in the stomach and duodenum. Iodate is reduced in the gastrointestinal tract and absorbed as iodide [2,5]. When iodide enters the circulation, the thyroid gland concentrates it in appropriate amounts for thyroid hormone synthesis and most of the remaining amount is excreted in the urine .’
Now ask yourself, do you eat fish, seafood and seaweed every day? If the answer is no, then you may be a little or a lot deficient in iodine.
So how do you make sure you’re getting enough iodine every day, especially when you’re sick?
There are iodine supplements that you swallow but I don’t recommend them because too much iodine can actually do you harm.
Instead, I recommend painting iodine onto your skin.
The skin absorbs the iodine and releases it into the blood stream from which it is carried to the thyroid. You do not need to ingest iodine.
In Australia, BETADINE is a well known, family antiseptic. It comes in a small bottle and you paint it onto cuts and abrasions with a cotton bud:
The following quote is taken from the same Wikipedia article:
‘Povidone-iodine (PVP-I), also known as iodopovidone, is an antiseptic used for skin disinfection before and after surgery. It may be used both to disinfect the hands of healthcare providers and the skin of the person they are caring for. It may also be used for minor wounds. It may be applied to the skin as a liquid or a powder.‘
You can also buy pure iodine online under the brand name of ‘Lugols’. I have no idea whether one is better than the other, but I’ve used Lugols for almost ten years.
How much iodine do you need?
The amount of iodine is going to be different for each person because we don’t come in a standard size. I’m 5’3″ and 65 kgs. As a rule of thumb, I paint about a fifty cent coin size area of skin when I’m feeling fine. When I’m coming down with a cold, or trying to prevent one, I increase that to about 3 inches by 3 inches. That’s quite a bit of skin.
How much you use will depend upon your body size and how quickly the distinctive iodine stain is absorbed by your body. If the stain takes 24 hours to disappear from your skin, your thyroid is using a ‘normal’ amount of iodine for you. If the stain disappears in 8 hours or less, however, it means your thyroid is working harder than usual and using more iodine than usual. In that case, you may want to apply a bit more to your skin.
If you’ve never used either pure iodine or Betadine before, be careful because it will stain your clothing while it’s wet.
Both the Offspring and I were found to be vitamin D deficient some years ago when we were tested. I was truly surprised at my result because I spend a lot of time out in the garden. Surely I had absorbed enough vitamin D just from the sunshine on my skin?
Apparently not. So what does vitamin D actually do, and why should you care?
According to Dr John Campbell, vitamin D reduces the ‘probabilty of contracting respiratory tract infections’. Covid-19 causes fever and a dry cough – i.e. a respiratory tract infection.
I strongly recommend that you watch this video in its entirety:
Other important nutrients for your immune system
I stumbled across this post by accident whilst researching iodine and vitamin D:
You can find a detailed description of each of these nutrients by following the link above. I don’t know enough about magnesium and sellenium etc to comment on their efficacy, but I’m definitely going to explore them further myself, and I recommend that you do too.