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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RICKETS - VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY


I have previously written about Vitamin D deficiency in Scotland. This is well known as being the cause of rickets (brittle & bent bones) but this is merely the most extreme symptom.
The vitamin D hormone system controls the expression of more than 200 genes and the proteins they produce. In addition to its well-known role in calcium metabolism, vitamin D activates genes that control cell growth and programmed cell death (apoptosis), express mediators that regulate the immune system, and release neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin) that influence one’s mental state.

Now Britain's BMJ says even rickets is returning because of our sedentary & indoor lifestyle.
But doctors reported this month that cases of the debilitating disease have once again become "disconcertingly common" in Britain.

"Kids tend to stay indoors more these days and play on their computers instead of enjoying the fresh air," said Simon Pearce, a professor at Newcastle University in northeast England and lead author of a new study on Vitamin D deficiency.

"This means their vitamin D levels are worse than in previous years," he said in a press release.

Half of all adults in Britain -- especially in the north -- have Vitamin D deficiency in winter and spring, with one-in-six having severe deficiency.
The reason for it being inherently more in the North is because we get less sunlight. Scotland, in particular, is as far north as Hudson's Bay, Petersburg & Siberia. Because of the Gulf Stream we can maintain a much better climate & thus higher population than any of them, however it still leaves us nationally with a deficiency in vitamin D. This is probably why Scotland has more multiple sclerosis than anywhere else in the world & we are top of the league in so many illnesses intensified by an overall immunological weakness.

This is the sort of thing a Scottish government, with presumed particular competence in Scottish problems could fix. For a relatively small cost & infinitely less interference than all the fuss about passive smoking, they could require extra Vitamin D to be added to certain staple foods sold here (milk & bread would be most likely). This would be likely to do more for Scotland's health than all the ministerial posturing in the world. Or alternately
"Fifty years ago, many children would have been given regular doses of cod liver oil, but this practice has all but died out," noted co-author Tim Cheetham, also a professor at Newcastle.

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