There’s actually very limited evidence in favor of mass masking, but advocates argue it’s relatively inexpensive (true) and what’s the harm (none if your intent is to create division and distrust among “your” people). But what about something to reduce COVID-19 severity and mortality that’s cheap, easy, and has solid scientific evidence behind it?
Finally someone in official capacity is pushing this treatment. It’s called “vitamin D.” England has announced that more than 2.5 million of its more vulnerable people, namely those in long-term care facilities, will be offered free vitamin D supplements this winter.
Like all vitamins and some minerals, it seems vitamin D has been presented by various sources as a form of snake oil in a capsule – with the (possible) exception of growing hair on a bowling ball. You can find at least one study for practically everything. But we know it’s essential to human life and we know many people aren’t getting enough. That’s especially true among people with darker skin, the elderly, and those living at higher latitudes. Older age and darker skin have both clearly been associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes.
COVID-19 aside, vitamin D insufficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide, while an estimated 1 billion people, across all ethnicities and age groups, have vitamin D deficiency. Our ancestors didn’t sit behind monitors and TVs in caves all day long.
A shortage has long been associated with a host of problems. “Emerging research supports the possible role of vitamin D against cancer, heart disease, fractures and falls, autoimmune diseases, influenza, type-2 diabetes, and depression,” notes one paper.
Regarding COVID-19 specifically, an early November meta-analysis in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition that included 8,176 COVID-19 patients participating in 26 studies and with a mean age of 58 found statistically significant reduced symptoms, hospitalizations, and deaths for those with adequate vitamin D levels. Likewise, a slightly earlier but apparently as-yet unpublished meta-analysis found that COVID-19 patients tended to have very low levels of the vitamin.
And here’s a stunner. Since those papers appeared, a report in the science magazine Nature has found that, among severe coronavirus patients with no vitamin D deficiency, there was a 3.1% death rate, while for those deficient it was an incredible 21%.
If that’s not enough for you, Dr. Anthony Fauci also recommended vitamin D as a supplement against the coronavirus – albeit only in response to a question in a press conference. Neither the Centers for Disease Control nor any other U.S. government body nor the World Health Organization has done the least bit to promote the vitamin. It just doesn’t fit the authoritarian mindset governments around the world have adopted. If you can’t jail, fine, or at least shame someone, then what’s the purpose?
Some studies have shown vitamin D can have a preventative effect, but the meta-analysis didn’t find the research so far convincing. That said, overall good health and nutrition has long been associated with resistance to infectious disease, so in that sense vitamin D may play a role.
We naturally get vitamin D from some foods, but not staples. Some countries such as the U.S. supplement milk with the vitamin, but the U.K. doesn’t. Sunlight is the best source, but those most at risk from COVID-19 – the elderly and those with co-morbid conditions like obesity and heart conditions – are least likely to be out and about. Lockdowns and constant urgings to “Stay at home and save lives” of course merely aggravate this.
Researchers quickly started looking for a vitamin D-coronavirus correlation because many studies done prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and as early as March they were finding one. But all anybody seemed to care about then was locking down.
In addition to issuing pills at high-risk facilities, more food supplementation should be considered. But don’t wait. It’s not a good time of the year for recommending more sunlight, but you can buy a month of vitamin D capsules for the cost of a box of masks (depending on the makers of both). As far as dosage, the 400 IUs the Brits will be distributing seems a good guideline.
Governments and policy wonks must no longer keep the vitamin D-coronavirus connection essentially a secret. Granted, it doesn’t satisfy that totalitarian itch in the same way as a recently proposed year-long lockdown that would send us back to the stone age. But the current best evidence is that it’s an easy and cheap way to save lives, reduce the load on ICU units, and present great financial savings.
If this were really all about combating COVID-19, that just might be considered worth something.
Michael Fumento (www/Fumento.com) is an attorney, author and journalist who has been writing on epidemic hysterias for 35 years.