Hello to all readers, it is really good to connect with you again. I hope that you are keeping well. If you saw my last article 3 months ago, just before lockdown, you will have seen the wellbeing tips and advice that I shared, to help you navigate through these strange and difficult times. These can be also found on my TopToToeTreatments website entitled pandemic support. The advice I gave then has been further strengthened and validated as our collective understanding of the pandemic emerges and grows.
Wise Health Online
I have set up Wisehealthonline (the alternative WHO!!) as a facebook group, for a sense of connection and community for sharing tips and asking questions, with website to follow. For those not on computers, the phone is also always available. It is vital that we can reach out to each other, feel connected and find ways to minimise feeling isolated. It is wonderful to see so many community initiatives that bring hope and smiles to faces at times of adversity. One of the main purposes of wise health online is to offer support towards optimising immune resilience, navigating through this situation and addressing root causes to chronic conditions to improve health outcomes, via natural, lifestyle solutions.
Fresh Outdoor Air
One of the first pieces of advice I gave last time for supporting ourselves was the importance of being outside in the fresh outdoor air and how during the Spanish flu pandemic, patients were even treated outdoors and had a better chance of survival. If you are unable to go outdoors, then keeping rooms ventilated is very helpful. Clean outdoor air whilst still observing social distancing, is seen as a disinfectant. In due course when I am able to once again see clients for reflexology, I am looking forward to offering outdoor treatments as an option, weather permitting. Those who know me well, know my love of walking in the great outdoors and it is great to see so many more people walking locally for exercise and enjoying our beautiful countryside. We are lucky to have relatively clean air here, since it is believed that a virus such a covid19 has a better chance of surviving and being infective in polluted air where it can attach to and be carried by pollution particles. All the more reason to keep our air clean!
Vitamin D for the Immune System
One other piece of advice I gave 3 months ago, was to ensure adequate levels of Vitamin D, traditionally known for being good for strong healthy bones, because research a few years ago from a meta-analysis of many studies, shows that it prevents acute viral respiratory infections and brings the immune system into balance; not only does it boost the ability of cells to kill and resist viruses, at the same time, it dampens down harmful inflammation, which is one of the big problems with Covid. It is also involved in modulating the biochemical pathway that covid19 attaches to in the body.
Vitamin D Deficiencies
It is understood that in the UK approximately 20% of the population are deficient in Vitamin D, far more than the rest of Europe; we have a Vitamin D deficiency pandemic. This is strongest to the north of the Midlands due to lower sunlight levels. It is also more pronounced in those who do not go outdoors much, such as indoor/office workers, the obese, elderly and those in care homes, as they don’t get enough sunlight to produce vitamin D. Also those with darker skin are not able to make vitamin D from sunlight as efficiently and can become easily deficient. Vitamin D levels can be checked by a simple blood test, where adequate levels are around 30ng/ml, or above, optimally 40ng/ml and deficient levels are around 12ng/ml and less. Average levels for U.K are 19ng/ml, far below adequate and the lowest across Europe.
In late April, Public Health England recognised that during the pandemic many are not getting enough sunlight to make vitamin D and recommended supplementing with 10 micrograms per day to protect our bones during lockdown, but this is too low to protect the 20% with lower levels of vitamin D and is 10 times less than the maximum tolerated dose.
Vitamin D levels and Covid-19
Studies are now suggesting that Covid-19 patients are also far more likely to die if they have a vitamin D deficiency. This has started to become more widely recognised globally and reported in the national press in the last few days. For example an Indonesian study shows the death rate to be 98.9% for those with vitamin D deficiency, compared to 4.1% for those with normal levels of vitamin D. Also, 94% of all NHS doctors killed by the virus, were BAME and likely to be deficient in Vitamin D, reported here by the British Medical Association, even though they account for around 44% of all doctors, bringing the urgency of assessing vitamin D deficiency to the fore. Furthermore, the Somali population of Sweden has also suffered a disproportionate number of deaths: despite comprising less than 1% of the population, press reports on 11 May state that they accounted for 18% of COVID-19 related deaths countrywide and 40% of Stockholm’s COVID-19 related deaths.
I am delighted that PHE and NICE are now conducting rapid reviews of vitamin D in relation to the pandemic, with publications expected imminently. This truly offers a ray of hope amidst the struggles faced by so many and gives a vote of confidence to simple, holistic, inexpensive, natural, lifestyle and preventative approaches to health and wellbeing, enabling us to take our life back into our own hands and relieve the burden on the N.H.S.
If you would like a good quality vitamin D supplement with 10% discount or for an initial no obligation holistic consultation, please get in touch with me quoting LPM, via the contact details provided.
Article written by Tracy Mills for Local People
Magazine issue July 2020. Tracy is a full time
Reflexologist & holistic therapist registered with
Association of Reflexologists (AOR) and trained
with the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM)
offering natural preventative lifestyle approaches
for optimal wellbeing. She can also be found on the
Professional Standards Agency register for referrals
from other healthcare professionals including G.Ps