The President of Health and Social Care has shot down the potential benefits of vitamin and mineral supplements in combatting covid, whilst also arguing that the best defence against long covid is to “not get covid in the first place.”
Deputy Al Brouard answered three questions, posed by Deputy Lester Queripel, relating to immune system supplements and covid-19.
Deputy Queripel argued that leading professionals from around the world have been saying for some time that a strong and resilient immune system is the best way to defeat covid. He asked if HSC would be embarking on a programme to help islanders build their immune systems and provide support for those who couldn’t afford to.
He focused on the benefits of vitamins C and D and also supplementary zinc and magnesium, all known to support the immune system.
“There is no correlation between the use of dietary supplementation and a reduced risk of morbidity or mortality from covid-19,” replied Deputy Brouard.
“Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Excellence recently advised that there is insufficient evidence that vitamin D supplements reduce the risks associated with covid 19 but acknowledges that this position may change in the future.”
Pictured: “People should acquire the vitamins and minerals they need by having a varied and balanced diet,” said Deputy Brouard.
Deputy Queripel adamantly stood by his point, referring back to studies taking place in Spain and elsewhere in the world. He asked if HSC was aware of such studies.
“Many of the people who had covid also had washing machine failures,” said Deputy Brouard. “We should be careful what we link together in this particular situation.”
He said he was not personally aware of studies in other jurisdictions, neither was he aware of all covid developments globally: “I leave that to the experts, who are. We are continuing to follow the science and Public Health are very aware about what is happening elsewhere.”
Pictured: “I would not support promoting dietary supplementation,” said Deputy Brouard.
During several supplementary questions ,Deputy Brouard was asked about increasing public awareness of the drug ivermectin, which has not been authorised for use in the UK or United States and can be dangerous in large doses.
“If ivermectin proves to be of use, we’ll definitely bring it in but at the moment the last advice I had was that it’s something to do with de-worming large mammals.
“The WHO (World Health Organisation) is not advising that it be used,” he said.
Circling back to the debate on dietary supplementation and developing a healthy immune system, Deputy Tina Bury argued in a supplementary question that HSC already supports this.
“Would the President not agree with me that the committee already embarks on this kind of work with the Be Active Campaign and the Health Improvement Commission?”
Deputy Brouard agreed that the government financially supports both initiatives.
Pictured: Deputy Queripel argued that dietary supplements would be better for protecting our community.
Meanwhile, Deputy David de Lisle queried whether HSC was giving enough time to recording long-covid in the community. He said he was unaware of any plans to do so and thought it was about time our jurisdiction did.
This is despite a long-covid study being promoted by the Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink, in May this year, the results of which haven’t been published yet.
However, Deputy Brouard said most people in Guernsey who’ve suffered with covid have made a reasonable recovery and we should instead focus on “not getting covid” in the first instance.
“One of the best ways to not have long covid is not to get covid in the first place, which is why our particular emphasis is to get a vaccine,” he said.
“We do have a long-covid clinic, luckily it hasn’t really been used much because after six months most of the people who’ve had covid have made a reasonable recovery – but the main stress is that if we can avoid getting covid to begin with that’s the better position to be in.”
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