Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

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IslandPink
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#1 Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by IslandPink »

From a brief discussion on another thread -
I said
"I have a strong suspicion almost everybody who gets cold or flu or other unpleasant things in the winter is vitamin D deficient. Just look up influenza and vitamin D on Google. At work, two guys in their 30's that I know had theirs tested and both were deficient. I'm in the middle of the healthy range but probably only because I have taken 3x cod liver oil per day for about 15 years and have a sun canopy with UV-B tubes that I use once a week in the winter.
I haven't had any infection in the last 9 months"
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#2 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

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Ray said :
"I think that's a rather tenuous connection Mark; you have to take into account all the people who are Vitamin D defficient who don't get something unpleasant and vice versa. The fact is that at our latitude and further north (or the reciprocal latitudes in the southern hemisphere) the short winter days causes a lot of the population to be Vitamin D deficient. It's can be really quite serious in Sweden, Finland, etc. where Vitamin D supplements are the norm"
With the link -
https://www.grassrootshealth.net/docume ... -calendar/
Which is very useful
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#3 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by IslandPink »

I would say that Vitamin D is not alone a guide to how good your immune system is - for instance vitamin A, vitamin C and Zinc are all quite important. However having any of these nutrients low is a risk factor. Trouble is, the other nutrients can be supplied by most good diets with dairy, meat and some fruit and veg, but Vit D is a real toughie.
Aside from cod liver oil, the only food that supplies Vit D in any useful amount is Herring. Salmon has only about 25% as much. One other useful source was lard - but not many people use lard much these days.
Otherwise you only get small amounts from butter, cheese and some mushrooms if they've been exposed to UV.

The sunshine link that Ray posted backs up what I learned about 30 years ago from an excellent article in Sky & Telescope magazine , called 'The Physics of Suntanning' . The main facts I took away from the article were that the UV extinction factor even with sun overhead is quite significant, then the path through the atmosphere varies as cosec^2 (theta) , which means the absorption builds up rapidly as the sun angle reduces. The UV intensity numbers were as follows :
Overhead ( 90° to horizon ) ; 100% ( normalised )
Sun at 60° (approx peak in UK ) : 50%
Winter sun, 30° to horizon : 1%
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#4 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

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IslandPink wrote: Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:46 pm I think that's a rather tenuous connection Mark..
Harvard study :
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/ ... d-and-flu/
See also -
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4463890/
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#5 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by pre65 »

My mother has a particular problem (due to a weakened immune system) and when we last visited the specialist I asked if there was anything "easy" a layperson could do to make it stronger ?

In essence, the answer was NO. :shock:
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#6 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by Ray P »

Mark, I wasn't suggesting for one moment that vitamins and nineras aren't important to our wellbeing or a factor in our risk of picking up ailments. I use supplements, including one for Vitamin D.

The point I was making was simply that your statement "I have a strong suspicion almost everybody who gets cold or flu or other unpleasant things in the winter is vitamin D deficient..." is flawed from a cause and affect perspective. If the general population is deficient in Vitamin D you might as well say "I have a strong suspicion almost everybody who gets cold or flu or other unpleasant things in the winter has two arms..."

So, I concur with your general direction, that having a balanced intake of the correct nutrients/vitamins/minerals is important to our general wellbeing and understanding that over the last century or so has led to general improvements in the health of the general population and for some conditions (i.e. rickets) to have almost disappeared, but that's not the whole story.

Personal, unscientific and not necessarily demonstrating cause and affect, observations I can make are that since I stopped being overweight, started eating a 'better diet' and by taking regular exercise my health and wellbeing have been transformed in terms of my energy, alertness, concentration, strength and confidence. I am unwell less frequently and when I am I recover more quickly. I feel less fatigued and sleep a lot better too. My heart is not working so hard and my blood pressure is that of a 'younger person' (this morning its 118/76 and 51bpm). Also, I really enjoy proper coffee (I rarely drink tea) but by rationing myself to 2-3 proper coffees a day and drinking decaff at work a slight 'fuzziness' in my head has disappeared (too much caffeine is a contributer to high blood pressure too). It becomes a virtuous circle too, for example, my car will probably not be used until next weekend because I have the energy to commute to work on my bke and it's doing that commute that gives me the exercise to have that energy.

I use an app on my smartphone to track diet/exercise/etc. so I know that I'm more or less in the right ball park but I don't overmanage it by being too rigid. I don't think I'm neurotic about it all, I just see it as investing a little time in my wellbeing each day. I still have 'bad stuff' like butter/cakes/chocolate but in the knowledge that I can manage it because I'm aware of the need for an overall balance.

So yes, be aware of and manage vitamins/minerals/etc. but also shed the extra pounds and get out more!

Ray
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#7 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by Paul Barker »

I take Vitamin D but it isn’t possible to know what good it’s doing.

I suspect my resistance to colds and influenza is due to the Allicin supplements.

You count your money, if you have enough take vitamin D. With supplements in general, if your diet is healthy you’re probably spending pointlessly. Healthy body fed right makes what it needs.

My biggest contribution to wellness comes in summer when as close to midday I can I take a lunch break sitting outside with my top off. So vitamin D appears to improve my sense of good health. I get bucket loads of feedback having sat in sun. Through winter while taking D tablets I am completely in the dark as to whether it’s even as much as a drop in the ocean. But because I can afford the D I use it.
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#8 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by jack »

It's not just in northern climes that folk are vitamin D deficient...

In the Middle East, most non-local folk are as they always use factor 30 or above UV sun-screen.

This affects both adults and children. In Dubai where I spent the last few years, almost all westerners were D-deficient and should be taking supplements.

Those that had common sense would get out into the sun (un-screened) for at least 20 minutes a day.

As I was swimming outside for at least an hour a day, my D count gradually got back to normal, but most folk just weren't aware of the risks of continual high factor sun screen use.

The only reason that I knew about this was because those doing the Bosphorus swim were continually monitored, having regular full blood tests and even ECGs.
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#9 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by Nick »

Healthy body fed right makes what it needs.
Not true, unless you define fed right as including a unlikely level of D during the winter.
I have a strong suspicion almost everybody who gets cold or flu or other unpleasant things in the winter is vitamin D deficient. Just look up influenza and vitamin D on Google. At work, two guys in their 30's that I know had theirs tested and both were deficient. I'm in the middle of the healthy range but probably only because I have taken 3x cod liver oil per day for about 15 years and have a sun canopy with UV-B tubes that I use once a week in the winter. I haven't had any infection in the last 9 months
As "Jack" said, that's a bit of a circular argument, and seems to be mixing correlation with causality.

TBH, if there was a clear causal link between lack of D and winter illnesses, then to assume that its 1. known by the internet, but never been tested by the scientific community, or 2. known by the scientific community but somehow not acted on. Is to my mind a conspiracy theory close to flat earth.
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#10 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by Paul Barker »

I was repairing a flat earth mans boiler yesterday. Wow! He was reading off loads of pranoia (it seems once they believe the earth is flat they become a party to a whole host of other strange explanations.) I wasn’t really listening properly as my mind was on the work, but I recall him going on about plasma a lot and that were not held on to earth by gravity but by magnetic push or pull from opposing magnetic force. Oh and Elton John and Simon Cowel he believes are Transgender.

Just a few snippets that stuck in my head.

Yes I do know the body can’t make vitamin D. I was only mentioning the body (when in good health and fed the right things) keeps you’re levels right in respect of other essential elements with the exception of vitamin D.I didn’t make that explicit only inferred.
Last edited by Paul Barker on Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#11 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

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I've read that some foods and fish oils can contain natural Cannabinoids which could also promote wellbeing.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318528.php#1
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#12 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by pre65 »

I've also had reports from (mainly) people of pensionable age who find Turmeric capsules can provide relief from many painful conditions.

It seems Turmeric and black pepper mixed together enable much better absorption into the body.

I'm not suggesting that that these may help cyclists with "legover" problems but they seem to be Vegi approved.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Organic-Turmer ... B0772QQX76
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#13 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by Mike H »

Just coming from a different direction – back in the '80's – '90's I was daily taking vit C and A capsules. A because I was a smoker, I read somewhere that depletes vit A. Much later, I stopped taking them as a test, can't remember what for, but anyway to see if I felt any difference by not taking them. No, none whatsoever. Except being £20 – 30 better off every month by not spending it in the chemist! :shock:
 
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#14 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

Post by Mike H »

Appendix: my mother was always giving me vit C tablets (anyone else remember Haliborange?) during winter in the belief it helped resist colds.

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#15 Re: Some thoughts on Vitamin D, flu, etc

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I certainly made a rod for my own back with this one ! I will come back on a few points later.
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