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Wet climate blamed for ill health

15th September 2008

A scientist has stated that the "poor health" of the Scottish population and the "lack of sunshine" in the country are linked.


Dr Oliver Gillie said the lack of vitamin D, produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight, was caused because of Scotland's climate.

He has said the government need to act urgently so that the population took a regular vitamin D supplement.

Dr Gillie researched the levels of vitamin D around Europe and the death rates for selected diseases.

Scientists have previously made the link between low levels of vitamin D and diseases such as cancer.

Dr Gillie said that doctors should be able to give patients "megadoses" of vitamin D in order to top up the body's level of the vitamin.

"Scotland has an extreme climate characterised by very little sunshine - it gets as little sunshine as some places in the Arctic Circle," he said.

"Its people have low levels of vitamin D because most vitamin D comes from the effect of sun on skin. Scots also have high levels of chronic illness - among the highest in the world."

He said that government should impose new plans which would allow Scotland to "catch up" with other countries.

Dr Gillie added that the vitamin could also be added to certain foods.

Chief medical officer, Dr Harry Burns, said the government were already thinking about vitamin D and had put in place a "meeting of experts" which is due to go ahead later in 2008.

He called Dr Gillie's research "an important contribution" to the current argument about the health of the population in Scotland.


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Edward Hutchinson

Thursday 18th September 2008 @ 5:34

The full text of Oliver Gillie's booklet Scotland's Health Deficit: an Explanation and a Plan is downloadable free from http://www.healthresearchforum.org.uk/reports/scotland.pdf
We need to test 25(OH)D status and have available Cholecalciferol Vitamin D3 in strengths from 2000iu to 6000iu on prescription.
While we know that Ergocalciferol D2 is more expensive, less effective and less reliable it is a national disgrace D3 is not readily available on prescription.

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