A TOP medical professor has slammed the Scottish Government for failing to medicate the population with Vitamin D.
Professor George Ebers, has called on the NHS to “mass medicate” Scotland with the vitamin, claiming it could help combat medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and high blood pressure.
Prof Ebers, from the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurology at Oxford University, claims there is enough scientific evidence to put a national programme in place, which could help ensure Scots get enough of the vitamin, which promotes strong and healthy bones.
Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Inspector at the Scottish Government, has so far resisted the move to mass-medicate Scots with the vitamin, waiting until more medical trials have been carried out.
Prof Ebers said policy makers with “courage and vision” were needed in Scotland, where an estimated 10,000 people die every year from M.S
He said: “A variety of experts around the world have said that Scotland needs to do something. Sir Harry Burns is charged with the responsibility of looking after Scotland and if you really want something to work, the onus is on you to make sure there’s uptake. Just telling people doesn’t work.
“(The Scottish Government) want to make vitamin D available in schools. Somebody up there needs courage and vision. I think they haven’t kept their eye on the ball.
His claims come amid growing concerns in Scotland that under-fives, pregnant woman and the elderly are not getting enough vitamin D, which your body needs for strong healthy bones.
Mr Burns claims to have unpublished research which shows “breathtaking low” levels of vitamin D in pregnant woman.
Currently free vitamins can be obtained by Scottish GP’s, but Ebers claims that everyday products such as milk, cereal and flour should be fortified with vitamins to improve the nation’s uptake.
Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be a cause factor in Scotland’s high rates of MS, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and several types of cancer.
MS has been given extra prominence by Harry Potter author JK Rowling, whose mother died from MS at 45. Ms Rowling donated £10million to Edinburgh University’s MS research clinic.
Mike Lean, a professor of nutrition at Glasgow University said more research needed be done before public money was spent.
He said: “Health boards should be sceptical about all the industry-led hype and require evidence for safety and efficacy from randomised controlled trials before taking any action with public money.
“Most proper nutritional scientists are very doubtful indeed.
“At present, such evidence is not available, and clinicians in Scotland have made pre-presentations to me about possible harm from Vitamin D supplementation, pointing out that there were many cases of harm to children from vitamin D supplementation which was carried out in the 1950’s.
“The scientific advisory committee on nutrition is reviewing the advice it offers the FSA. The outcome of all of this work has been to suggest Professor Eber’s conclusion are not supported by the vast majority.”