Cardiology

Replies to the vitamin D article by the guest contributor


11th July 2020

Having published the guest article by ‘Bob’ there have been a lot of comments. I have not replied, as it was not my article. However, Bob has put together a kind of generic reply to people’s posts which I think may be useful and informative.

Hello Everybody – I wrote the article and have read your comments.  First, I want to thank Dr. Kendrick for publishing my thoughts in his esteemed blog.  I started following Dr. Kendrick’s blog around 2015 and am a devoted reader.   My favorite single post is the one titled “Salt Is Good for You.”

I was introduced to the wonderful world of Vitamin D in 2010 when a physician directed me to the Vitamin D Council website, now defunct.  John Cannell’s articles on influenza, and on autism, were compelling for me.  I started taking 5000 IU per day in December 2010 (at age 60) and I noticed that I no longer got colds or influenza in the winter.  Before 2010 I would get one or two colds every winter, with the usual sore-throat – head cold – chest congestion sequence.  Since then I have had exactly 5 colds, all very mild.  I now take a higher dose but I think people should look at the advice provided in the Grassrootshealth article and make up their own minds as to appropriate dose.

My article sketches out a theory that yields a series of hypotheses which can be tested.  Thus, one notes a general pattern, and scratches one’s head over exceptions.  Hence my discussion of Ecuador and South America.

I propose that an underlying difference in susceptibility to coronavirus arises from the fact that the New World was epidemiologically isolated from the rest of the world until about 500 years ago.  Before then the indigenous populations of the New World and the Old World were exposed to and therefore developed adaptive mechanisms to ward off different groups of pathogens.

This is illustrated by the well-known susceptibility of New World populations to Old World pathogens like measles and smallpox.   The higher death rates in many South American countries suggests that the indigenous New World genome has not yet fully adapted to Old World coronaviruses.  Thanks, Terry Wright, for the Guayaquil reference.

Thank you, John Stone, for the reference to the Stadler article observing that there is a significant level of immunity to Covid19 already present in the population.   We had another clue to this fact early in the pandemic with outbreaks on two ships, the cruise ship Diamond Princess, and the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.  Both occurred before people took protective measures, and it can be argued that the close quarters of shipboard life are ideal for the transmission of the disease.  On both ships, everybody was tested for Covid19.   Results were remarkably similar.  On both ships, 17 percent of the people tested positive for the virus, and of those, 50 percent were asymptomatic.  It looks like 83 percent of the shipboard populations were immune to the virus.  Why?

Several of you have pointed out that death rates from various countries are inconsistent with the sunshine theory.  First, do not confuse cases with deaths.  Case totals are the creatures of testing programs, which vary from place to place.  Deaths are a much harder statistic.

That said, country-specific factors come into play.  In comments, Andrew Larwood and Simon C pointed out Finland’s vitamin D supplementation program would reduce deaths.  Their death rate per million is 59, which seems very low for a country in the winter at such a high latitude.  Now I know why. Another factor may be fatty fish, a dietary source of Vitamin D, which is consumed in quantity in ScandinaviaHåkan, your comment about Sweden is relevant.

Many people attribute the higher rate of Covid19 deaths to the lack of a lockdown.  However, an equally good case can be made that the dark-skinned immigrant population in Sweden is more deficient in vitamin D and thus more susceptible to the illness.  See this article by Dr. David Grimes where he notes that 1 percent of the Swedish population may be responsible for 40 percent of deaths: http://www.drdavidgrimes.com/2020/04/vitamin-d-and-immunity-important.html and this one: https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1101/rr-10  If you have read Dr. Kendrick’s last blog post, “Distorting science in the COVID pandemic,” you would know that the very low death rate (7 per million) in Morocco may be due to their use of hydroxychloroquine to treat sick patients.

Does implementation of hydroxychloroquine treatment explain the abrupt decline of coronavirus deaths in the UAE on May 12? https://www.palmerfoundation.com.au/preliminary-injunction-sought-to-release-hydroxychloroquine-to-the-us-public-studies-show-benefits/  If you look at the death rate graphs for a number of Muslim countries, there is a distinct uptick in cases at the end of May.  Does this have something to do with Ramadan, which was April 23 to May 23 this year?

David Bailey, your comment is spot-on.  Look at the seasonality of acute myocardial infarction.   In the higher latitudes one gets daily doses of sunshine in the summer, but not in the winter, and it is the dailiness of the dose that is key to protection of the endothelium.  This is also why randomized clinical trials of vitamin D tend not to show a strong protective effect against CVD, because most do not use a daily dose, rather, dose intervals are weekly or longer (and the dose is usually too small and the duration of the trial too short).

Thank you all for your comments.

 

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