To D or not to D: is that the question?

The role of Vitamin D3 and the war against Covid-19

I’ve been keeping on eye on research into vitamin D with respect to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, thanks to the excellent videos of Dr. John Campbell, and informed politicians like David Davis and Michael McNamara. For those who are not aware of the role of Vitamin D3 and its importance - especially now in the middle of this pandemic - here’s a (brief) synopsis of the relevant research.

Most of the vitamin D3 in your body is produced in the skin, by exposure to sunshine. For decades it’s been known that D3 plays a part in calcium absorption in the body. (For example, vitamin D3 deficiency can lead to bone conditions like rickets and osteoporosis in later life.) But in more recent times, another role of vitamin D3 in the body has been discovered. It acts as a regulator within our immune systems. It prevents over-reaction of the immune system to certain infections. This over-reaction, a cytokine storm, is what causes the often fatal respiratory and vital organ damage in some Covid patients. Those excessive immune responses are what lead to hospital admissions and ultimately to intensive care or death. With all this in mind, some studies were done measuring the D3 levels in Covid patients and found that up to 80% of them were deficient in levels of D3, and that low D3 levels are associated with poorer outcomes for Covid cases. Based on that, further studies and trials actually administered large doses of D3 to Covid patients on admission and observed significant reductions in the number of patients requiring ICU treatments, and by extension, a reduction in the number of deaths too.

So there are strong indications that vitamin D3 supplementation could have been an effective measure in meeting our health authorities’ stated goals of reducing deaths and taking pressure off the healthcare systems during this pandemic. And yet, it’s remarkable how silent most health authorities have been in advising the public about D3 supplementation at this time. One notable exception is Andalucia province in Spain. They issued D3 supplements free to the elderly and care home residents last November. The elderly are particularly subject to D3 deficiency because their thinner skin is less effective at producing it and immobility/infirmity makes getting out in the sunshine less likely also. Andalucian health officials also advised all the public to supplement their D3 intake too. We all get less sunshine in winter months here in the northern hemisphere. That is one reason why the flu ‘season’ is in winter rather than the summer months (the other reason being huddled closer together indoors during the cold months.) The drop in hospitalisations, ICU admissions, and deaths from Covid in the following winter months were dramatic. D3 supplements are safe, non-toxic (though can be taken to excess), cheap, and widely available to everyone right now.

So why has it fallen to the citizen scientists of the world to make the public aware of the results of clinical trials and studies? Why are so few other health authorities not taking the lead, and converting the findings of those studies into public health advisories? There was no such alacrity last year in following other countries into lockdowns. It’s tempting to say it boggles the mind why authorities wouldn’t recommend, or issue, D3 to vulnerable groups if there’s a chance it could save lives.

There are only three possibilities that I see, and the implications of each of them disturbing.

Firstly, it’s possible that our public health advisors don’t know about these vitamin D3 findings and outcomes. I think we’d all like to discount that particular possibility. They’ve spent a year telling us they’re the experts, that they’re the ones on the pulse of all up-to-the-minute knowledge surrounding all aspects of this novel virus in order to inform public policy and the Covid strategy. To be unaware of any research going on into the treatment of Covid-19 is therefore inconceivable. If it were the case, that would render them incompetent. And they can’t be incompetent, can they? They’re the experts. We wouldn’t allow incompetent experts tell us what we can and can’t do, now would we? Like I said: that’s inconceivable.

Secondly, it’s possible that health advisors know about the research into the efficacy of D3, but don’t accept it. They may claim that the findings don’t constitute evidence, because trials aren’t sufficiently well conducted, e.g. requiring double-blind trials. They may say that correlation isn’t causation – that the direct link of D3 to better Covid outcomes is not proven. In other words, they can claim that the science isn’t settled yet. But for anyone who has picked through these clinical trial reports in reputable, peer-reviewed, scientific publications, it is clear that there’s sufficient proven link between D3 levels and fatal Covid outcomes not to ignore or dismiss it. We are rolling out vaccines that are passed by regulators only ‘for emergency use’ in this pandemic. If it was serious enough an emergency to warrant use of experimental mRNA drugs, or catastrophic lockdown measures, then why not serious enough to issue a simple vitamin supplement also, which has shown to be linked to saving lives against this virus? I’ll return to the reason why later.

Thirdly, it’s possible that health authorities are indeed aware of the importance of D3 and its potential as an additional measure in fighting this virus, but they simply don’t want the public to know about it – at least, not from their lips. We could give the benefit of the doubt here and suggest they wouldn’t let the public know for fear of a binge on D3 supplements without GP supervision creating an epidemic of problems further down the line due to excess calcium in the blood. But that is easily dismissed – public health advisors can quite easily warn about over-use of D3, advise safe levels (especially in different age groups), and referral to GPs. Another possibility is that they don’t want the public to believe D3 is a quick and easy way to safety in case we stop adhering to other measures that the health authorities have mandated (such as social distancing, hand-washing, masks, etc.)

Another possibility, especially now after a year of destructive lockdowns, is because it could make our health advisors look like incompetent fools. They spent the year giving the public the impression of control, of knowing what measures are best, investing fortunes into vaccine research and purchases en-masse. How do you think the public would react if they found out a simple vitamin could have obviated most of those measures all along? Most of all, no health advisor wants to be accused of responsibility for hundreds, maybe thousands, of deaths they could have prevented.

There is a final possibility why our authorities kept silent on vitamin D3 as a potential measure. I return to it now, and it is the most sinister of all. Even though early indications revealed that D3 might have an effect on reducing Covid severity, apparently little to no research was funded into it by the medical organisations. Operation ‘Warp Speed’ provided millions for vaccine development. The notion of herd immunity acquired the natural way was removed from WHO’s website as soon as potential vaccines emerged. The WHO itself never pushed, or funded, more studies into vitamin D3 prior to that. Surely a double-blind trial of D3 against Covid should have been a priority if it was available to save lives prior to any vaccine availability? The reason? It is a capitalist, corporate world we live in and .. quite simply .. there is little profit to be made in D3 supplements compared to expensive pharma solutions.

Let me make quite clear: I’m not a conspiracist. I believe human society is too complex, and individual human beings are too flawed, to be able to achieve the intricate machinations that most conspiracy theorists conceive in their formidable imaginations. However there are opportunists out there, and I do believe that it is precisely because of that flawed human nature of ours that people seek to exploit, and not always from noble motivations. As one commentator recently noted: this pandemic has provided a rich opportunity for all sorts to push their agendas.

Even if Big Pharma did lobby behind the scenes to push vaccine solutions to this current predicament, it wasn’t just them that pushed natural solutions off the table. We were complicit too, due to our modern frame of mind. There was more interest in pursuing the man-made solution than the naturally available ones. We, as a race, sought and hoped for a biotech solution to this virus. In a previous article, I touched on the fact that we seem to prefer man-made victory over this viral enemy than a natural one – it was, after all, spiteful nature that sent us this little beast, wasn’t it?*. There’s an implicit belief in technology as the necessary way forward, the way out, almost to the point of holding natural immunological solutions – what nature already provides – in contempt. It’s man versus nature. How often lately have we heard this pandemic talked about as a war? We so easily forget that whatever vaccines we develop we have only been able to because of nature itself and what we have learned about its mechanisms (such as mRNA). Another such mechanism is the chemical vitamin D3, the chemical not only absent in our sub-optimal immune systems, but now absent too from our arsenal in the war against Covid. This oversight raises bigger questions about us.

We are in thrall to our sciences, and our own technological solutions to natural problems. We are in thrall also to our corporations and supra-national organisations. In the cold light of this year, or next, or the next decade, we may finally see how badly they failed us in their response to this pandemic. It’s time to research for ourselves, to look not to the monied or powerful experts anymore, but to the citizen scientists without agenda, and to think for ourselves again, and to revisit common sense. Perhaps when all the best efforts of our authorities have left us worse off than we would have been without them, maybe then we will look again to natural logic and nature’s solutions to the problems of our own making.

There is a pandemic of D3 deficiency. Our biology came from, and is adapted to, the natural world. Human lifestyles have changed and we can’t be considered an outdoor race anymore, and our biology is showing us that now. The deficiency of the sunshine vitamin in our lives is contributory in so many more of our modern ailments, from diabetes, to MS, to cancers. The real question is not whether we need more vitamin D3, or should take supplements, or whether we should get out more. The question is what our attitude to nature should be. Do we want to continue to ignore what nature gives us altogether? Do we want to see nature only as an adversary to be beaten, to be surpassed by human ingenuity? Do we want to look at nature merely as a set of resources or mechanisms to be exploited, analysed and superseded only by human-driven processes? Do we want to proceed entirely on human technological solutions to biological hazards and ailments, or do we want to look to work in harmony with nature? Ignoring naturally available solutions has not served humanity well this past year, or ever for that matter.

* The origins of the virus, and whether it’s source was natural or man-made are still being hotly debated, but that won’t be resolved in this article.