'Ministry of Truth' vs Nutritional Medicine

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Originally published on www.orthomolecular.org by Damien Downing, MBBS, MRSB

Just outside the local primary school here in north London, somebody has sprayed these words on a phone or cable junction box, highly visible to the mums and tots: COVID 1984

I often cycle past there, and have always thought "Mmm, a bit extreme", but now I'm starting to wonder.

In George Orwell's novel "1984," Winston Smith works at the Ministry of Truth, which administers Newspeak, deciding what the "truth" is, propagating it, and rewriting history when necessary. Newspeak is "characterized by a continually diminishing vocabulary; complete thoughts are reduced to simple terms of simplistic meaning" according to our old friends Wikipedia. The purpose is thought control; you know the saying "The French have a word for it"? If you don't have a word for it you struggle to think it. So words like "anti-vaxxer" polarize opinions and prevent any subtlety of thinking about viruses and vaccinations.

For two years, we at the OMNS have been stating one simple message:

Nutritional therapy works on Covid, as it does on all viruses.

On January 26, 2020 the OMNS Editor in Chief, Andrew W. Saul, wrote a news release: "Vitamin C Protects Against Coronavirus." [1] It also made recommendations for vitamin D3, magnesium, zinc and selenium, which strengthen the immune system. We have continued to repeat and expand the message again and again. And have been suspended by Facebook again and again.

Others, including highly respected front-line physicians such as Paul Marik, have also figured out the importance of these nutrients. [2] In fact we have known about the anti-infective potential of vitamin C for over 50 years, since it was reported by Frederick Klenner. [3,4] He described traditional sources such as acerola cherries, which are very rich sources of C. That puts the knowledge back way before we named it "vitamin C."

And it makes nonsense of the narrative that there is only one solution to Covid: vaccinate, again and again.

Two years ago I failed to persuade mainstream colleagues of the utility of this. "It's not evidence-based," they said. Now two review papers have shown the evidence, and it's pretty solid.

The first, in the journal Life, is called "Vitamin C Intervention for Critical COVID-19: A Pragmatic Review of the Current Level of Evidence." [5,6] It shows clearly that "this simple vitamin saves lives when given in the right dose." In fact, vitamin C saves about 80% of the lives of critically ill Covid patients.

With a roll-call of experts saying vitamin C can save lives, what has been the response of the authorities, the powers-that-be?

The UK's National Health service responded back in 2020 by promising a trial of intravenous vitamin C. Until that evidence becomes available, they have continued to say that there is no good evidence that vitamin C works. Scientists including the authors of the above paper sent them studies and they still said that. Finally a freedom of information (FOI) request established that the NHS had received the papers and had ignored them, for at least a year.

But the promised international multi-center trial would fix this, right? The only problem is, apparently, that the NHS had already signed an exclusive contract with a single company to supply the vitamin C, and that company was and still is unable to provide any. So the trial still has not started. Even for a piece of fiction, you couldn't make it up! I could lend them some tomorrow.

The second review is by my colleague, independent researcher Rachel Nicoll: "COVID-19: Presenting the case for vitamin D: A cheap, effective measure overlooked by most governments." [7]

As always with Rachel's writings this is very information-rich. Here's just one sentence;

A meta-analysis of 23 studies containing 11,901 participants found that in patients with vitamin D deficiency, the risk of being infected with COVID was 3.3 times higher and the risk of developing severe COVID was around 5 times higher compared to those with more healthy vitamin D levels.

Our knowledge of vitamin D and its importance for immunity has progressed by leaps and bounds in this pandemic, but a lot of this too we have known for ages. I wrote a book about it back in 1988; there's a team in San Diego that has been studying sunlight and health for decades. [8]

Just as modern agriculture has been depriving us of many essential nutrients, [9] modern lifestyles have been depriving us of sunlight and therefore vitamin D. Lucky you if you live somewhere sunny like San Diego, because here in London nearly everybody is vitamin D deficient. Not that things are perfect in San Diego; we all shun the sun these days, often due to scare tactics about skin cancer.

That's a story for another time, but here's a take-home thought about vitamin D levels. It has been shown that a population needs a vitamin D blood level above about 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml) to stop deaths from Covid, [10] but precious few of us manage it. So what should our blood level be? Where's the benchmark when nearly everybody is deficient? If you take our nearest evolutionary relatives, non-human primates, they have around twice that level, 125 to 200 nmol/L (50-80 ng/ml). [11,12] We're not just falling behind them, we're missing it by a mile. You need at least 10,000 IU per day long-term to achieve that.

Guess what comes next? When the "experts," at least in the UK, are asked about the safety and toxicity of vitamin D, they say we should not take more than 2000 IU per day. But this is based on the UK's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) 2016 report. SACN cited a 2006 paper by Vieth as showing toxic effects above this level. However, the Vieth paper actually states that toxicity may occur at 25(OH)D concentrations beyond 500 nmol/L (200 ng/ml), levels which could not be achieved unless an individual was taking extremely high doses for a prolonged period of time (such as 30,000 IU/day for three months). [13] This warning has been misunderstood and misquoted and has given rise to a lot of pointless restriction of vitamin D intake. So even though the error about vitamin D safety was pointed out 15 years ago, and repeatedly since then, it is still being perpetuated by supposed experts.

Two years down the line, then, we at the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service are still saying the same simple message that nutrition works. And the bureaucrats at the 'Ministry of Truth' are still deleting it.


1. Saul AW (2020) Vitamin C Protects Against Coronavirus. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. https://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n04.shtml

2. Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance: Prevention & Treatment Protocols for COVID-19. (2022) https://covid19criticalcare.com

3. Klenner FR. (1949) The treatment of poliomyelitis and other virus diseases with vitamin C. South Med J, 111:209-214. https://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/194x/klenner-fr-southern_med_surg-1949-v111-n7-p209.htm

4. Klenner FR. (1951) Massive Doses of Vitamin C and the Virus Diseases. Presented in the Fifty-second Annual Meeting of the Tri-State Medical Association of the Carolinas and Virginia, held at Columbia, February 19th and 20th, 1951. https://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/195x/klenner-fr-southern_med_surg-1951-v103-n4-p101.htm

5. Holford P, Carr AC, Zawari M, Vizcaychipi MP (2021) Vitamin C Intervention for Critical COVID-19: A Pragmatic Review of the Current Level of Evidence. Life, 11:1166. https://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/11/11/1166

6. Holford P (2021) Twelve intervention trials conclude that vitamin C works for Covid. So why are hospitals being prohibited from using it? Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. https://www.orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v17n27.shtml

7. Health Advisory and Recovery Team (2021) COVID-19: the case for supporting the human immune system with vitamin D: Why is this simple vitamin not promoted more? https://www.hartgroup.org/briefing-covid-19-the-case-for-supporting-the-human-immune-system-with-vitamin-d

8. Mohr SB, Gorham ED, Garland CF, et al. (2021) San Diego group studying positive effects of sunlight. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Mohr+SB+Gorham+ED+Garland+CF

9. Lowther M (2020) Why are there fewer nutrients in our food? Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. https://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n54.shtml

10. Downing D (2020) How we can fix this pandemic in a month. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. https://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n49.shtml

11. Power ML, Oftedal OT, Savage A, et al. (1997) Assessing vitamin D status of callitrichids: Baseline data from wild cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) in Colombia. Zoo Biol 16:39-46. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2361(1997)16:1<39::AID-ZOO6>3.0.CO;2-C

12. Power ML, Dittus, WPJ (2017) Vitamin D status in wild toque macaques (Macaca sinica) in Sri Lanka. Am J Primatol. 79:e22655. https://www.primates.lk/health-vitamin-d-in-wild-monkeys-and-you

13. Vieth R (2006) Critique of the considerations for establishing the tolerable upper intake level for vitamin D: critical need for revision upwards. J Nutr, 136:1117-1122. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16549491

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