Rupa Huq Persuades Government To Assess Vitamin D Benefits

Convinces Matt Hancock it may be effective in combatting Covid-19

Rupa Huq (right) with David Davis and Matt Hancock
Rupa Huq (right) with David Davis and Matt Hancock

The Health Secretary has been persuaded to review the potential benefits of Vitamin D against Covid-19, following a meeting with Rupa Huq.

The Ealing Central and Acton MP, along with former Brexit Secretary David Davis, had what she described as a ‘breakthrough’ meeting with Matt Hancock last Wednesday (7 October).

They were aiming to convince him of the merits of the vitamin, which they say has been shown in multiple studies to be a highly effective Covid-19 defence.

They had called for the commission of research and a public health campaign. Hancock told the pair he would give it “serious consideration.” With the nights drawing in and the clock about to go back, Dr Huq and Mr Davis stressed that the time to act is now.

She said, “The meeting with the Health Secretary last night was constructive and positive. Our conversation will be ongoing. I am glad he was willing to listen with an open mind to the evidence on Vitamin D, which is fast becoming difficult to ignore.

“Since I first raised this, I have been inundated with eminent medics from far and wide showing evidence of the role of Vitamin D in reducing risk of coronaviruses, including Covid-19. It’s common sense to include Vitamin D as part of the Government’s strategy. It’s cheap and could be a crucial weapon as we face a dual Covid/flu crisis this winter.

“I hope the meeting will prompt the Government to include Vitamin D as part of its arsenal in the UK’s fight against this wretched virus.”

Last month Mr Hancock was criticised for incorrectly telling the House of Commons that UK trials had ruled out its effectiveness. It transpired the Government had not carried out any new research into the supplement, as the Department of Health later admitted, and that only a review of evidence had been conducted.

Yet a study by Cordoba University, Spain, earlier this year showed that a high dose of a Vitamin D drug significantly reduced the need for ICU treatment of coronavirus patients, while a Lancet report said “it would seem uncontroversial to enthusiastically promote efforts to achieve reference nutrient intakes of Vitamin D … There is nothing to lose from their implementation, and potentially much to gain”.

One in five Britons are reportedly deficient in vitamin D — the equivalent of 13 million people. But the rate is up to 90 per cent in people with darker skin, such as BAME populations who are known to be at greater risk from Covid-19.

Dr Huq remains keen on offering Vitamin D on prescription for the most vulnerable, a measure that would cost between £200-£300m, a drop in the ocean compared to the Government’s spending on the test and trace system.

She added, “This may be a significant moment in the Government's response to Covid-19. With 42,000 dead and a winter crisis looming, ministers really have nothing to lose, but as a nation we have so much to gain.”

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October 13, 2020