Saturday, February 16, 2013
Vitamin D links
Abstract of "An estimate of the economic burden and premature deaths due to vitamin D deficiency in Canada." from Canada's National Centre for Biotechnology Information
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many diseases and conditions in addition to bone diseases, including many types of cancer, several bacterial and viral infections, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. ......
It is estimated that the death rate could fall by 37,000 deaths (22,300-52,300 deaths), representing 16.1% (9.7-22.7%) of annuals deaths and the economic burden by 6.9% (3.8-10.0%) or $14.4 billion ($8.0 billion-$20.1 billion) less the cost of the program. It is recommended that Canadian health policy leaders consider measures to increase serum 25(OH)D levels for all Canadians.
Canada's population is 34 million so on a population basis that would average around just over 5,000 deaths annually. I assume the economic costs are based on welfare spending not GDP but proportionate to population that would be over £1 bn.
Actually the vast majority of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border (54th parallel) which goes through ---- so Scotland is worse off, indded with, because we, particularly the west, are warmed by the Gulf Stream, which creates clouds, quite a bit worse off.
The citizens of Scotland have a very poor health record and a life expectancy that is one of the lowest in the Western world. This poor health record holds true for all social classes. It is now known that living in Scotland also results in extreme Vitamin D deficiency due to chronic lack of sunlight. (164) While deficiency in the UK is widespread the situation in Scotland is worse than for the rest of the country.
Scotland receives 30-50% less ultraviolet radiation (UVB) from the sun than the rest of the UK due to its high latitude and persistent low cloud cover. Vitamin D levels are consistently found to be even lower in Scotland than the rest of the UK. (168)(165)(166) (167)
Indeed, Glasgow, with one of most cloudy climates receives a similar amount of UVB as Kiruna in Northern Sweden which is way above the Arctic Circle.....
Experts in Vitamin D now suggest that Scotland's poor health record is a direct consequence of Vitamin D deficiency particularly in childhood.
To maintain an adequate level of vitamin D in Scotland there is little choice but to take supplements. Normal levels of Vitamin D cannot be achieved through diet alone.
book length pdf by Doctor Oliver Gillie
Scotland's Health Deficit: An Explanation and a Plan
in Australia only, manufacturers must add vitamin D to edible oil spreads (e.g. margarine); http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/fortification.cfm
I had previously suggested adding it to salt, to which iodine has been added in several countries for similar purposes. Also salt is something that every human eats to roughly the same extent so that it would seem appropriate if you want to reach everybody. However this is a technical matter and I would be perfectly willing to accept some other staple food.
"We found a highly significant relationship between MS patient-linked admissions and latitude (r weighted by standard error (rsw) = 0.75, p = 0.002). There was no significant relationship between smoking prevalence and MS patient-linked admissions.
This metasurvey (ie combining all the results from all published surveys) of mortality amonng people taking supplements showed "The summary relative risk for mortality from any cause was 0.93 (95% confidence interval, 0.87-0.99)" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17846391 ie a 7% reduction in mortality. Note, however, that this is for all published research, relatively little of which will have taken place in anywhere nearly as sunless as Scotland so the effect in the country with the highest MS rate in the world is virtually certain to be greater.
There is a definite latitudinal effect on MS risk across Scotland"
MS prevalence worldwide http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/pdf/354.pdf
Canada a prevalence of MS averaging around 90 per 100,000
Rochdale, close to the 54th paralle that forms Canada's southern border - 112 per 100,000
Scotland "highest anywhere in the world for large populations" - 187 per 100,000
Orkney 193 per 100,000 - world's highest
Taking the estimate that 37,000 deaths could be saved in Canada by D supplements, based on Canda's 34 million and Scotland's 5 million population, and assuming the full range of harm caused by lack of vitamin D is proportional to the MS rate, we come to the best estimate that adding sufficient supplements would save 11,000 lives annually.