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Op-Ed: Vitamin D in the news

By Alexander Baron     Jan 10, 2012 in Health
Vitamin D has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons, but how do we make sense out of so many conflicting reports?
Here is an official view of Vitamin D; a simple web search will bring up many more.
The word Vitamin means literally amine of life, or if you wish, vital to life. There are several groups of vitamins, and they must all be ingested. The human body cannot manufacture them, but without them, you will die. The one exception is Vitamin D; there are actually several types of D group vitamins; unlike Vitamin C, Vitamin D is fat soluble. It can also be manufactured by the body with the help of sunlight. While the absence of any vitamin spells death, vitamin deficiency can result in all manner of unpleasant symptoms. The most famous historical example of this the pioneering work of the naval surgeon James Lind, who cured scurvy by giving seafarers citrus fruit.
Scurvy is a particular unpleasant disease whose numerous symptoms include bleeding from the mucous membranes, jaundice, psychological impairment, and finally death.
The disease most commonly associated with Vitamin D deficiency is rickets, which leads to weak bones including bowing of the legs. This is of course of particular concern to the young; without sufficient Vitamin D, growing bones cannot properly absorb calcium. Rickets is, or was, one of the many childhood diseases that were totally eradicated in Britain in the 20th Century. The reason for this had less to do with medicine than with improved public health measures such as sanitation, clean water, and improvements to the food intakes of ordinary people. In Britain, bread is fortified by law.
In spite of this, over the past few years, rickets has made a comeback. The big question is why? One major reason appears to be that some ethnic groups literally don't get enough sunlight. In spite of the at times ludicrous politically correct attempts to pretend that race does not actually exist or that it is merely a social construct rather than a biological fact of life, the fact remains that different races have different tolerances to different diseases, among other things. This willful blindness can at times result in tragedy.
Last month, Rohan and Chana Wray were cleared at the Central Criminal Court of murdering their baby son Jayden. The boy had rickets, and his fragility had led to their being accused of shaking him to death.
Other parents have not been so lucky, like Nafisa and Mohammed Karolia who were convicted of child cruelty on what appears to be dubious evidence.
While insufficient sunlight may explain Vitamin D deficiency in blacks and Asians, the same cannot explain similar deficiencies in all races in somewhere considerably more tropical than Britain. Without wishing to endorse any crazy conspiracy theories, this video is certainly worth watching. As usual, it raises more questions than it answers, but there can be no doubt that we are destroying our world with deforestation, overpopulation and rampant polution. Is it really so improbable that we, or our unelected masters, are also destroying it in more sinister ways?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Vitamin d, calcium absorption, Rickets, scurvy, The Vitamin D Deception