It was standing room only on Tuesday night when Elizabeth Roddick, pharmacist and owner of New Life Pharmacy was introducing her vitamin D clinic to the people of Netherlee South Glasgow.
“Vitamin D deficiency is a known problem in Scotland and I wanted to raise awareness of this and offer solutions to tackling the issue,” said Elizabeth yesterday.
Elizabeth is working with Dr Eva Kocovska a researcher at Glasgow University who has recently had her research published ‘Vitamin D and autism:Clinical Review’(Research in Developmental Disabilities 33 (2012) 1541-1550 where an argument was made about the possible link between the role ofvitamin D and autism. Dr Kocovska explains “This pharmacy service is indeed an innovative project. Elizabeth is working in collaboration with myself to scrutinise for any possible link or association between specific vitamin D levels and various health conditions or changes”.
Dr Helga Rhein a G.P. working in Lothian NHS is another proponent of vitamin D supplementation. She wrote “Elizabeth Roddick has taken up the vitamin D challenge and opened a vitamin D advice and testing clinic. I regard this step as a laudable unique innovation which will fulfil a so far unmet need and is urgently necessary. Publicising the opening and its running in due course will spread the word about vitamin D. I hope her project will become well known soon, thrive and will inspire and encourage others to do similar”.
Deficiency in Vitamin D in the U.K. and particularly in Scotland is widespread. Vitamin D is produced in the body by the sun hitting the skin. The particular wavelength required to produce vitamin D from the sun is only available for three or four months in the summer barring rain and cloud. Also, the skin needs to be exposed at the hottest time of the day for about 15 minutes. It is of course very important that the skin does not burn since that can lead to skin cancer. A small amount of vitamin D is obtained from our diet. Foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals contain the vitamin.
The Chief Medical Officers of the U.K. countries recently reiterated the statement that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should supplement with vitamin D. Rickets, a disease where softening of the bones occurs has reappeared across the U.K. This condition is as a direct result of vitamin D deficiency and is easily prevented by making sure blood levels are adequate.
Many studies linking diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, depression and respiratory tract infections with vitamin D deficiency are now emerging.
“I believe that supplementation is required for most people. Also, because there are certain people who shouldn’t take vitamin D and a wide range of doses are available it can be confusing. Advice needs to be available when purchasing the products” added Elizabeth
Elizabeth Roddick is a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. She owns and manages New Life Pharmacy in Glasgow.