This post is a tiny bit technical, but there's a good conclusion to it. I hope you read it. There's a possibility that we might have a special tool, one that promotes a higher survivability using Vitamin D supplementation
, and hence cope with the worst aspect of death in some species of pandemic flu. That being ones that invoke cytokine storms.
Bioavailability: The degree to which or rate at which a drug or other substance is absorbed or becomes available at the site of physiological activity after administration.
[link to www.thefreedictionary.com
Some foods have a higher bioavailability than others. What this means is that while calcium is available, it might not be able to be absorbed or used.
In medicine, one of the issues is compliance based upon the amount that must be consumed. For example, one pill once a day is easy for a patient. Taking three pills a day with meals leads to confusion and changes in when they are taken. People forget then think, “I'll take more later.” but that confuses them more. It leads to lower compliance and potential issues of a reemergence of disease states, lower nutrition, poor absorption, and even in them skipping it altogether.
I know we have a lot of proponents of Vitamin D here. While we can make all kinds of claims, I think it's more persuasive to list some authoritative medical links. Some explain that at least in America, most of the population is deficient in Vitamin D.
[link to www.webmd.com
During the great second wave of immigration of Irish, Italian, Russian, and many other ethnic groups to the USA, doctors began seeing an issue in young children. Many of them had soft bowing legs that curved out since their bones were weak. An entire generation was being crippled due to improper amounts of calcium. They called it Rickets.
[link to www.mayoclinic.com
Later, as we began to understand more biochemistry (the science of the chemistry of the body), scientists discovered a link between calcium and Vitamin D. If people consumed milk and yet didn't get enough sunshine, then the calcium didn't create proper bone formation.
The thinking was that sunshine gave most people quite a bit of Vitamin D, and hence supplementation was unnecessary. However later generations added Vitamin D to milk to ensure higher amounts of Vitamin D were given in the diet as well. Since milk is so prevalent in the diet of most Americans, this seemed logical. People drank three servings, one at each meal every day.
Milk has a high level of calcium versus a leafy green salad. You'd have to eat a lot of salad to get the same amount of calcium. Beans are another good source, which is good if you couldn't afford a cow or milk was unavailable for sale.
This present generation consumes less milk. We know that 75% of African-Americans and most Asian-Americans lack an enzyme called lactase. That chemical compound allows milk to be completely digested in the digestive system, including liberating the sugar from lactose into simpler sugars in the large intestine. Since they didn't have it, then drinking milk often induced bloating and diarrhea.
[link to www.webmd.com
Proper digestion is essential as it allows the fat, protein, and simple carbohydrates of milk to be fully utilized. Skipping some of that with poor digestion results in much lower amounts of nutrition and energy.
On top of this issue was osteoporosis. It was extremely common and expected for women to become stooped over as they aged. It was thought to be a normal aspect of aging elderly people.. As many people died much earlier for a variety of reasons, it wasn't as big an issue as other disease states. As public health increased, so did longevity and more and more women exhibited osteoporosis. We discovered that their bodies were also susceptible to low levels of calcium and vitamin D as well as other issues.
[link to www.nof.org
Most people think of their skeleton as hard sticks that form linear supports. In actuality it's living tissue that is more like miniscule scaffolding. Under weight bearing labor, it is constantly tearing down and rebuilding. It also provides new red blood cells in the marrow of the healthy long bones of the body (like the femurs in your upper legs).
[link to www.iofbonehealth.org
When the 1918 Pandemic Flu hit, it swept across the USA as well as the world. There were few treatments which offered any benefit. Much of who died and who lived was a mystery. While there were some successes from osteopathic physicians who used manipulation of the lympathic pump, a kind of massage that moved lymph in a certain way through the body
, others were not so successful and huge number of the populace died.
In 2009, there was a scientific study looking at the differences in people who survived the 1918 Pandemic Flu. They analyzed the Ultraviolet B (UVB) levels to see if there was a correlation to case-fatality rates
. In other words they were looking at wavelength of sunlight levels and hence typical amounts of Vitamin D that would be reasonably generated by people in those areas. Here is that study.
[link to www.landesbioscience.com
] It may be that Vitamin D supplementation and those who live in areas with more sun may have less issues with cytokine storms based upon the data found in the link above
The Pandemic Flu of 1918 was unusual. A lot of healthy young people died, in much higher amounts than scientists and physicians thought possible. Later we discovered that specific kinds of flu caused an immense immune reaction now called a cytokine storm. We think that patients die of this reaction, more so than the respiratory infection itself.
[link to www.nature.com
Why is that important? We now have an epidemic and possibly we are in the early stages of a pandemic again. We know that the respiratory infection of this influenza seems worse than normal. We don't have enough data yet. We probably won't know under after the epidemic or pandemic a year from now.
If we have a pandemic, it may be very difficult to acquire calcium through ordinary means. It also may be difficult to acquire Vitamin D too. Today, calcium tablets most often come with both. For someone preparing and stocking up on supplies, it might be wisdom to also stock up on calcium tablets.
They might prevent a cytokine storm or at least provide higher survivability.