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Diet & Health : Nutrition Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Vitamin D deficiency linked to influenza
By news release
Feb 26, 2009 - 2:55:17 PM

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Date:  February 26, 2009
Jamie Fuller, Director of Public Relations
S. Lombardi & Associates
P: 805.544.9220, F: 805.544.5627, E: [email protected]

Central Coast Psychiatrist Discovers a Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and the onset of Influenza

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA -- In December 2006 a psychiatrist at a state mental hospital in California, along with a number of co-authors, first theorized that daily supplementation with proper daily doses of vitamin D would prevent influenza and many varieties of the common cold.  (Cannell JJ, et al. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiology and Infection. 2006 Dec;134(6):1129-40.)  As Science News reported, Dr. John Cannell wrote the paper after observing an influenza epidemic at Atascadero State Hospital.  (The antibiotic vitamin: deficiency in vitamin D may predispose people to infection.  Science News, November 11, 2006)
Last year, Cannell and many of the same co-authors used vitamin D to explain virtually all of the unsolved mysteries of influenza.  (Cannell JJ, et al.  On the epidemiology of influenza. Virology Journal. 2008 Feb 25;5:29.)  And to date, Cannell’s second influenza paper is by far the most accessed paper in the journal this year. (Top 20 most accessed articles for last year in Virology Journal).
Today, researchers from Harvard and the University of Colorado, writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine, published convincing evidence that Cannell’s observations at Atascadero State Hospital were correct (Vitamin D deficiency linked to more colds and flu. Scientific American, Feb 23, 2009 and Adit A, et al.  Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(4):384-390.)  “This is just the beginning,” Cannell said.  “If we can continue to unveil supporting evidence for this theory, so many lives will be saved.”
Studies show that Influenza kills around 35,000 Americans every year and similar viruses cause additional mortality and untold morbidity. Cannell, who heads the under-financed, non-profit, educational organization, the Vitamin D Council, now says most of those deaths could be prevented if Americans, and their doctors, understood some simple facts:  

    * Vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a steroid hormone precursor, which has profound effects on innate immunity.
    * The amount of vitamin D in most food and nearly all multivitamins is literally inconsequential.
    * The correct daily dose of vitamin D for adults is approximately 5,000 IU/day, not the 200-600 IU recommended by the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Medicine and the FDA.
    * The only blood test to determine vitamin D adequacy is a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, not the 1,25-di-hydroxy-vitamin D test many physicians now order.
    * Healthy vitamin D blood levels are between 50-80 ng/ml, levels obtained by fewer than 5% of Americans.
    * Medicare’s new proposed rule change, which forbids Medicare carriers from paying for virtually vitamin D blood tests (Draft LCD for Vitamin D Assay Testing (DL29510), will kill tens of thousands of Americans yearly.
    * The mechanism of action of vitamin D in infection, dramatically increasing the body’s production of broad-spectrum natural antibiotics (anti-microbial peptides) suggests pharmaceutical doses of vitamin D will effectively treat not only influenza and the common cold, but a host  of other seasonal infections, including meningitis, septicemia, and pneumonia, in both children and adults.
    * In 1997, when the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) set the current guidelines for vitamin D intake, they forgot to correct for the widespread sun avoidance that began in the late 1980’s when the AMA’s Council of Scientific Affairs warned against sun-exposure, and recommended that all Americans should make every effort to never let a photon of sunlight strike their skin.  This failure of the 1997 FNB has led to millions of deaths around the world.
    * Physicians who ignore vitamin D deficiency will eventually suffer medical-legal consequences.
    * While many think the influenza virus causes influenza, Cannell notes it was George Bernard Shaw who first understood: “The characteristic microbe of a disease might be a symptom instead of a cause.” George Bernard Shaw, (Preface on Doctors, The Doctor’s Dilemma, 1911).

For more information and/or to schedule an interview with John Cannell, MD, please contact Jamie Fuller at 805.544.9220 or [email protected]


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