Letter to the Times
We submitted earlier this year some alerts to the Nutrition Society and Food Standards Agency on confusion that might arise when dietary contents declared for “essential” fish oils (EU nutrition rule will deceive consumers, Sept 30) might overlook another significant fat – vitamins D. Recently increasing knowledge on widespread biological functions of vitamins D, the reluctance of a human population shunning sunlight (eg for fear of melanoma) and with a distaste for fish emphasize the significance of dietary sources and recognition that these vitamins may occur in plants in water-soluble speciations, as well as in animal-derived fatty forms, call for renewed attention to the labelling of foods and to access to screening by common blood tests.
Such tests, which could distinguish intakes of D2 and D3 and the possibilities of levels indicating excess and calcinosis and enhanced risks of calcium and parathyroid malfunctioning that could otherwise be missed until too late.
The tests could be monitored by GPs, if necessary at first at 6-monthly intervals, at the end of winter and about now – at the end of summer. Likewise, vets may avoid outbreaks of calcinosis in domestic herbivores of plant-derived vitamins D and congeners; dogs and cats cannot generate the vitamins in the skin and depend on meat and fish as dietary sources. Some mushrooms (eg shiitake) yield dietary sources for humans, who, otherwise, may have to resort to medically prescribed supplements suitable in content and formulation for vegetarians, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims.
Good wishes, Alan Long
2nd October 2009 – Note to Editor
Your medical correspondents might be interested in a lecture on Vitamin D in pregnancy – implication for mother and child in a conference on Thursday 1st October 2009 entitled Pre-pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
This is a copy of a handwritten letter I submitted in haste by fax late Wednesday, 30th September. The meeting was well-attended, stimulating, relevant, and lively. It dealt with corollaries of some major articles published over this year in the Times with content and allusions that are accessible in your on-line archive, as well as with topics of immediate medical and nutritional consequence and with NHS policies. These considerations entertain many aspects of environmentalist and animal welfarist concerns in tackling the challenges of recession and climate change.
Please see also: Vitamin D, the Sunshine Vitamin