Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Gratitude And Sunshine

Now that I have returned from my brief sojourn to the south coast of England, I would like to thank OldRightie, Edward, TediousTantrums, John Souter and Apogee for providing excellent posts during my absence. Gentlemen, I am extremely grateful.

It was quite sunny in the deepest south for the past week. Windy too.  However I've no wish to bore you about the contrasts in weather between south and north Britain, but to examine the effect of sunshine on our wellbeing and ask why our health providers aren't doing more to ensure everyone receives the correct intake of vitamin D.

While I was away I met with two of my oldest friends and both said their GP had contacted them when they became 60 and suggested a yearly 'flu inoculation and a vitamin D test. Neither have yet taken up the offer of the 'flu vaccine but both accepted the vitamin D test. Because they live where sunshine is (usually) more common than it is here 500 miles further north, they thought their vitamin D levels would be fine but one was informed hers was too low for her age and a couple of years ago started taking the vitamin - which I understand is actually a hormone, so why it's referred to as a vitamin is bewildering.

If GPs in the south of England are spending money on the vitamin in a preventative care package, why isn't Scotland considering this?  We have the highest number of MS cases in Europe and it's been proven that a lack of vitamin D, owing to the lack of sunshine, is a major cause of this debilitating disease.  I'm not suggesting anyone should rush to the chemist a buy bottles of the supplement as it has to be carefully monitored and monitoring is expensive, but surely in the long term it would be money well spent.  I intend to see what my new GP has to say about it.

Even if we lack sunshine in this lovely part of the world, certain foods can provide us with around half our needs.  I didn't realise mushrooms were a rich source did you?


Joe Public said...

"If GPs in the south of England are spending money on the vitamin in a preventative care package, why isn't Scotland considering this? "

Could it be because all that 'Free' education given to your undergraduates is emptying the coffers?

subrosa said...

Plus free prescriptions Joe. That could fund the monitoring of quite a few thousand I'm sure.

Oldrightie said...

Your graciousness is unsurpassable , Subrosa.
As for vitamin D, malt has its content, too!

subrosa said...

You mean malt as in Horlicks of course OR. In the not too distant future the word malt, in association with alcohol, will be a dirty word up here.

pa_broon74 said...

I've been reading about this somewhat coincidentally.

Vitamin B1 or Thiamine was discovered by a polish chap attractively named Casimir Funk in 1912. He realilsed it was part of a family of molecules so concatenated the words 'vital' and 'amines' to give 'Vitamines'.

He was right about the vital part but only some vitamines were in fact amines (being nitrogen bearing, apparently) so the name was changed to vitamins in a more general sense.

Also, the prescribing of vit B1 is regional in Scotland. My Dad gets it in Edinburgh (arguably because he has a serious medical problem) but my mum doesn't in East Lothian (she also has serious health probs.)

It is prescribed but not with any uniformity. My Dad used to get hundreds of them many of which I pinched for myself.

subrosa said...

Pa-broon, I'm most impressed by your research. Aye there does seem to be a lottery about these things. Only today a friend in the west, who had been reading this post, emailed to say her GP tested for vit D deficiency.

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