Many years of research have demonstrated the multiple health benefits of vitamin D. These benefits include supporting the development of healthy bones and teeth, supporting lung and cardiovascular function, influencing gene expression, supporting brain and nervous system health, and regulating insulin levels.
Vitamin D Protection from Covid-19
In 2020, scientists also discovered that vitamin D also helps protect against COVID-19 in upper respiratory tract infections. In 2021, two new studies confirmed what many researchers had already found: there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of contracting COVID-19, the severity of the disease, and the risk of dying from it.
Yet despite a known and safe side effect profile, benefits to patients with COVID-19, and relative ease of obtaining the low-cost supplement, health “experts” have continued to suppress information that could very well save many lives. To achieve vitamin D toxicity, a person must take more than 40,000 international units (IU) daily and have serum levels above 500 to 600 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).
In addition, they must also consume excessive amounts of calcium to experience vitamin D toxicity. In other words, vitamin D overdose is more difficult than acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose. Taking more than 3,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen in one day can cause symptoms of overdose. The first signs of poisoning may appear as early as 30 minutes after ingestion.
In addition, it is not difficult to overdose on acetaminophen because it is found in many over-the-counter cold medications. Many people who take the drug every week do not know that it is included in combined products. The drug is responsible for 500 deaths, 56,000 emergency room visits and 2,600 hospitalizations each year.
According to experts, 50% of these injuries are due to accidental overdose. In contrast, studies have shown that vitamin D toxicity is rare and usually caused by prescription errors, improper prescribing, accidental dispensing, or improper administration.
However, toxicity has not been consistently defined in studies. One Irish study found a prevalence of 4.8%, but anything above 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L) was considered elevated, which is within the normal range of 40 ng/ml to 60 ng/ml. Another comparison: while studies have shown that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is 41.6% in the general population and as high as 82.1% in people with dark skin, acetaminophen deficiency is not known to occur.
Vitamin D Deficiency Associated with the Severity of COVID-19
One of the more recent studies was published in June 2021. The researchers wanted to determine what role vitamin D might play in mitigating the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on morbidity and mortality. They recognized that vitamin D production from reasonable sun exposure is often limited by geographic location.
Clothing, sunscreen, and skin pigmentation also limit vitamin D production in the skin. Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D have been found to be suboptimal in adults from many countries and are not limited to certain at-risk groups. The study used an ecological design to find an association and examined complications and mortality in 46 countries.
Using data from public sources, they looked for and found evidence of vitamin D deficiency, which was defined as a serum level of less than 20 ng/ml. While this level is lower than the optimal vitamin D level, it is consistently used as a deficiency threshold by researchers.
The researchers collected data from Worldometer on the number of cases, tests and deaths in a population. They found a statistically significant correlation between deficiency, infection and deaths.
The data analysis was not limited to a specific area or population, but included data from 46 countries.
The data from this study support research published in the journal Nutrients in 2020 that shows a link between vitamin D levels and disease:
- A smaller number of cases in the southern hemisphere
- An association between deficiency and the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome
- An increase in mortality rates among older adults and patients with chronic diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency
- Outbreaks during the winter months, when serum levels of vitamin D are lowest
They concluded that the data suggest28 “that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality in a variety of countries.”
Second Study with Similar Results
A second study was published in September 2021 by Trinity College and the University of Edinburgh. These researchers also investigated the relationship between COVID-19 and vitamin D levels. They found that the level of ultraviolet B light at a person’s residence in the weeks before infection “provided strong protection against severe illness and death.”
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports. The researchers determined the association using data from 417,342 records stored in the British Biobank. This is a large-scale database that contains detailed information on genetics and health from half a million participants.
From this cohort, 1,746 cases and 399 deaths were recorded between March 2020 and June 2020. Unfortunately, vitamin D levels were measured on average about 11 years before the pandemic. Therefore, the researchers examined ambient UVB light, which they found to be strongly and inversely associated with hospitalizations and deaths.
These studies support and confirm earlier research published in 2020 and 2021 showing a strong association between vitamin D status and infection, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Early work published in May 2020 offered ample evidence that “vitamin D deficiency for COVID-19 warrants aggressive tracking and investigation.”
As of October 2020,36 research had found that people with vitamin D deficiency are at higher risk during the global pandemic and that supplements should be used to maintain circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels at optimal levels. Retrospective data showed that deficiency was also associated with an increased risk of COVID1-19 infection.
In a group of frail elderly nursing home residents with COVID-19 in France, researchers found that administering a bolus of vitamin D3 during the illness or the month before had a significant impact on disease severity and improved survival rates.
Other studies reached similar conclusions, showing that vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher severity and mortality39 and that supplementation can boost immunity and reduce susceptibility to infection.
Information is Suppressed Despite Growing Evidence
Despite mounting evidence that a simple and effective strategy to reduce disease and mortality was available, public health officials attempted to suppress the information. In the early months, many questioned the organized effort to create a situation in which more people died.
But as the year progressed, it became increasingly clear that U.S. health authorities wanted to ensure that as many people as possible participated in a gene therapy trial to protect against a virus for which treatment protocols and preventive measures already existed. The goal of some agencies was to put an end to Mercola.com. In the summer of 2020, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched a social media campaign to that end.
It is important to note that this self-proclaimed consumer advocacy group is partnered with Bill Gates’ agrichemical PR group, the Cornell Alliance for Science, and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
CSPI issued a press release on July 21, 2020, falsely accusing me of profiting from the pandemic by selling “at least 22 vitamins, supplements, and other products” to “prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19 infection.”
However, it is clear from its own appendix of unauthorized claims that there are no COVID-19 claims on any of the products themselves. Rather, the links CSPI uses lead to articles and interviews by Mercola, none of which are intended to sell anything.
Three weeks later, CSPI President Dr. Peter Lurie sent an email to CSPI newsletter subscribers on August 12, 2020, repeating the false claim that I am “profiting from the COVID-19 pandemic” through “anti-vaccine fear-mongering” and reporting science-based nutrition has been shown to affect your risk of disease.
CSPI gets Public Appreciation for FDA’s Actions
Interestingly, Lurie is a former FDA deputy commissioner. It is disheartening, but not surprising, that FDA issued a warning in February 2021 for “unapproved and misbranded products associated with 2019 coronavirus disease.”
Lurie has publicly taken credit for this action, setting up the possibility of CSPI pulling strings under the new administration through relationships they didn’t have in July 2020 when they launched their first attack on my free speech rights.
According to the letter, FDA lists liposomal vitamin C, liposomal vitamin D3, and quercetin products for the treatment of COVID-19 as “unapproved new drugs sold in violation of section 505(a) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 2pt1 U.S.C. § 355(a).”
It is ironic that Lurie simply brushes aside published scientific studies showing that immune function depends on certain nutrients and that they help reduce the risk of serious infection, whether it is COVID-19, the seasonal flu, the common cold, or anything else.
Instead, he advocates for mask-wearing, for which there is no published scientific evidence supporting its widespread use as one of the most important prevention strategies against COVID-19. In a blog post published on May 18, 2021, he says, “…while mask-wearing may make sense for most vaccinated people most of the time, it has the potential to destroy the social norm of mask-wearing.”
CSPI wants to Censor Free Speech
I’ve been writing about the importance of vitamin D for overall health for more than a decade. Yet CSPI has chosen 2020 to censor my efforts to educate people about the importance of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels. In 2020, I co-authored a paper with William Grant, Ph.D. and Carol Wagner, Ph.D. who are both members of the GrassrootsHealth Vitamin D Expert Panel.
In it, the clear link between vitamin D deficiency and severe cases of COVID-19 was demonstrated. The paper was published in October 2020 in the peer-reviewed medical journal Nutrients.
The FDA warning letter highlighted statements in articles published on my website that are fully referenced, cited, and supported by published science. I am committed to providing truthful information free of charge to anyone who wants it. I support rigorous scientific debate, but cannot support uncorroborated and fabricated allegations that contradict published, peer-reviewed science.
It should never be a crime to report the findings of scientists and researchers. When censorship becomes the basic method of influencing public opinion and health strategies, it certainly leads down a disastrous path.
For the record: We have addressed the FDA warning letter at length. It simply violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for FDA to stop free speech that CSPI does not like.
CSPI has Repeatedly Violated Its Mission Statement
This is not the first time CSPI’s recommendations have put public health at risk. In the past, CSPI described trans fats as “a great boon to American arteries, having enthusiastically endorsed them years earlier, saying “there is little good evidence that trans fats do more harm than other fats.”
In the real world, this highly successful trans fat campaign, which began in 1986, led to an epidemic of heart disease. When the organization began to reverse its decision on synthetic trans fats, it never admitted the mistake and simply blamed others, deleting the earlier pro-trans fat articles from its website and then publishing a timeline on artificial trans fats that simply skipped over what it had previously promoted.
The timeline begins in 1993, when CSPI “suddenly” decided to ask the FDA to label trans fats, and extends to 2003, when CSPI proudly claims to have taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times “charging McDonald’s for ‘breaking the McPromise’ on trans fats.” This was despite the fact that in 1986 they had criticized McDonald’s for not switching to trans fats sooner, as other fast food restaurants had already done.
Even though CSPI prefers to have you believe that it has always been against trans fats, some people still remember what it and its officials said in the past, and comments its officials and members made when they changed their position are preserved on the Web sites of others.
For example, Weston A. Price describes how CSPI Director of Nutrition Bonnie Liebman changed her organization’s position in December 1992, after completely ignoring CSPI’s support for trans fats just a few years earlier and blaming the margarine industry for promoting trans fats, writing:
“We have been crying ‘foul’ for some time as the margarine industry has tried to convince people that eating margarine is as good for their heart as aerobic exercise… And we warned people several years ago that trans fats could be a problem.”
As in the past, CSPI continues to recommend eating unsaturated fats like oil and canola oil, while avoiding butter and other healthy saturated fats, saying that “switching fats does not lower the risk of death.”
Trans fats, however, aren’t the only foods CSPI did an about-face on after years of touting them as healthy. As recently as 2013, CSPI downgraded the artificial sweetener Splenda from the “safe” category to “caution.” It took another three years to downgrade it again from “caution” to “avoid.”
Yet the organization continues to promote diet sodas as a safer alternative to regular sodas, claiming that they “do not promote diabetes, weight gain or heart disease to the extent that high-calorie sodas do – despite numerous peer-reviewed studies to the contrary.
CSPI’s support for suspected and, in some cases, well-documented health dangers of trans fats and artificial sweeteners, along with soy, GMOs, low-fat diets and fake meat, shows that the organization’s intent to protect and promote public health is questionable, to say the least.
The CSPI seems more interested in protecting profitable industries, and its efforts to destroy companies that sell vitamins and supplements with natural antiviral activity are just further evidence of that.