Unlock Defensive Immunity With Vitamin D

28 November 2020. Updated 29 November 2020.

by David C Anderson MD MSc. FRCP FRCPath, David S Grimes MD FRCP, Parag Singhal MD FRCP and Chris Williams BSc.

A side of smoked salmon from Bleiker’s Smokehouse, a great source of Vitamin D

Dear Fellow Citizens,

We would like to impress upon you the importance of protection against COVID-19 by correcting Vitamin D deficiency, which is so widespread in our population. The answer is simple: take Vitamin D3, 100 micrograms (4,000 units) daily.

We have all have been through a great deal of inconvenience, anxiety and lockdown during the course of this year, but despite this, COVID-19 is out of control in some areas. The Government has borrowed £400 billion yet failed to prevent more than 50,000 deaths – which works out at £8 million per funeral!

The phrase “following the science” has been used repeatedly, but this is inaccurate. Rather, we have been following the mathematicians, whose ignorance of biological science is dire.

To date, the disruptive and damaging attempts to control COVID-19 have been physical in nature. Lockdowns, ‘social distancing’, masks, etc. as if we are fighting a conventional war. Whereas. in reality, we are trying to defend ourselves against a virus, which is invisible and is transmitted through the air in its trillions. The virus will always be with us but we can develop immunity against it. Lockdown, masks, social distancing, closure of schools, universities, places of worship, shops, places of work, etc. may slow down the spread of the virus, but they will not cause it to go away. And people are still dying.

The answer lies in defensive immunity. We had a respite during the summer months when we had the benefit of the Vitamin D-producing sun with the production of vitamin D in our skin. Vitamin D is a hormone, the vital key that unlocks our complex, defensive process of immunity.

Now in the winter, with little sun and almost no natural production of Vitamin D, the number of deaths from the COVID-19 virus and other respiratory virus infections has inevitably increased. From April onwards, with more prevalent sun and resumption of natural vitamin D production, the number of deaths will fall again. So we still have four months of vulnerability ahead of us and we must protect ourselves.

We can protect ourselves immediately by maximising our general defensive immunity (that has evolved during the past 500 million years!). Hence we believe that correction of the generally low and inadequate blood levels of Vitamin D among the population is the key to a new and overdue approach to our national predicament. We believe that this is the way to protect ourselves while waiting for a vaccine.

The new vaccines are intended to achieve immunity against the COVID-19 virus but, as we have seen, a vaccine can only be developed after a virus has become a serious public health problem, and of course will be specific against just one virus. If, as expected, this lethal virus mutates, possibly to one even more deadly, we’ll have more deaths and the scramble for a new vaccine all over again. Hence, the obvious need to maximise our natural and general immunity to pathogens of all kinds.

We are also aware that there has not been consideration of a biological answer to the excess deaths within the Black African and Asian minority ethnic population, starkly illustrated by the fact that 24 of the 25 working doctors who have died from COVID-19 were BAME. Concerns about racism will not help our ethnic minorities in the foreseeable future. It is however well-known that even more serious vitamin D deficiency is common in our BAME citizens. A dark pigmented skin blocks the UV light from the sun and is very inefficient at producing vitamin D compared to white skin.

The elderly, especially those in rest homes, are also highly vulnerable to COVID-19, as they do not have adequate access to the direct effects of the sun on their skin. The Lockdown over the summer made their Vitamin D deficiency even worse. And the effect of depression caused by locking them away from their families also served to reduce any immunity they had – as well as being is very cruel.

Deficiency of Vitamin D has been known about for almost a century, and the amount of 10 micrograms (400 units) per day was specified in the 1960s and as adequate to prevent bone problems such as rickets.

But it is less-known that Vitamin D is the key that unlocks defensive immunity. To achieve this we need a larger amount of about 100 micrograms (4,000 units) per day to provide the minimum blood level of 30 nanograms per millilitre that gives adequate resistance to COVID-19. This daily dose is perfectly safe and also very cheap.

There have been over 25 recent studies all showing that higher levels of blood Vitamin D improve Covid-19 outcomes. One, and most important, was a randomised trial involving severely ill COVID-19 hospital patients at the teaching hospital in Cordoba, Spain. The results were dramatic. Compared to the control group there was a 96% reduction in the need for Intensive Care Unit admission, and a commensurate reduction of deaths.

More than 50,000 UK citizens have died from COVID-19, but, regrettably, this inexpensive and now obvious treatment is still not been used in UK NHS hospitals.

Stop Press: The NHS has just announced it will distribute Vitamin D3 supplements containing 10 micrograms (400 units) of Vitamin D3 to “the vulnerable”, to be taken daily. This dose is wholly inadequate for COVID-19 resistance. It was specified in the 1960s as the amount children should receive to prevent the bone disease rickets. That dosage level will be all but useless in helping to resist COVID-19 infection.


David C Anderson MD MSc. FRCP FRCPath.
ex-Professor of Medicine & Endocrinology, University of Manchester and  The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Retd. Consultant Physician. 

David S Grimes MD FRCP
Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, East Lancs Hospitals Trust, Retd.

Parag Singhal, MD FRCP
Consultant Endocrinologist, UHBW Trust, Professor of Endocrinology University of South Wales. Hon Sec. British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO). Chair, BAPIO South West Division

Chris Williams BSc.
Independent Health Research

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