Almost half of all Covid deaths were in care homes during the first wave of the virus in the UK.
Many care home residents have a diet lacking in Vitamin C according to a new study.
People deficient in vitamin C are particularly susceptible to severe respiratory infections, such as pneumonia. It was the major cause of death from scurvy in sailors during the 17th and 18th century.
A survey of elderly Scottish patients hospitalized with respiratory infections found that 40 per cent had deficient levels of vitamin C according to a study from the MRC Human Nutrition Research unit in Cambridge
People who are already low in vitamin C, will be particularly susceptible to further depletion due to severe infections such as COVID-19, and may not survive as a result.
Since 2008 Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency have conducted a ‘National Diet and Nutrition Survey’ which measures a cross-section of people’s vitamin C levels.
In their latest survey testing vitamin C in blood they report that four per cent of those over age 65 – that’s 480,000 people – have vitamin C deficiency. However, their cross-section excludes residents in care homes.
“The last study we have of residents in care homes, showing that 40 per cent are deficient, is over twenty years old.
“Since then, there is growing evidence that older people with chronic health conditions may have much higher need for vitamin C than the basic ‘RDA’ level of around 100 mg/d – what you’d get in two oranges, “ said Anitra Carr of University of Otago, Christchurch, in New Zealand.
Carr has teamed up with Patrick Holford, a UK nutritional therapist and student of twice Nobel Prize winner Dr Linus Pauling. Pauling put vitamin C on the map for colds in the 1970’s.
Carr and Holford want to test residents in care homes using an inexpensive 20 second dipstick urine test for vitamin C.
“The Linus Pauling Institute estimate that older people in care homes may need at least 400 mg of vitamin C – that’s four times the recommended intake and eight orange’s worth – to have normal vitamin C status.
We are seeking care homes in the UK who would be willing to test their residents, then supplement increasing amounts up to 1,000 mg, which is the standard dose in most supplements, to see how much they really need.” said Holford, who is founder of www.vitaminC4covid.com, a campaign to put vitamin C on the map for Covid prevention.
“The evidence for vitamin C is even stronger than that for vitamin D, which is now being given to vulnerable people in care homes. Why is vitamin C being ignored? It is inexpensive, completely safe and known to reduce duration of infections and hospitalisation. It could be a life saver.”
Holford is part of a team of experts, including Professor David Smith from Oxford University, Professor Iain Whitaker from NHS Wales and Swansea University, Professor Paul Marik, from East Virginia Medical School and Assoc Prof Anitra Carr who have submitted evidence to NICE and PHE regarding vitamin C for the prevention of respiratory infections including Covid.
“So far we’ve heard nothing from any government agency. Mainstream media, too, seem to be ignoring vitamin C.
“Yet, there are over 100 relevant studies and 45 currently underway specifically on vitamin C and Covid prevention or treatment.
“Vitamin C could improve vaccine responsiveness, especially in the elderly, both of which achieve a similar goal of enhancing your immune system’s response when under attack.” said Holford.
“We may be seeing millions die effectively with, or of, scurvy. You can’t survive a strong viral infection with decimated vitamin C levels. We have to find out how much our loved ones in care homes really need to have a fighting chance, and then make sure they get it.”