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Apparently children who have had good nutrition would just 'shrug it off' if they contracted measles. Why don't they say that in the UK?

(740 Posts)
bumbleymummy Tue 18-Jun-13 09:16:39

Article is here discussing the impact that poor nutrition has on children in developing countries.

Considering that the majority of children in the UK have no problem with good nutrition (fruit shoots and Greggs aside wink) why aren't parents being reassured rather than terrified into having their children vaccinated with images of coffins plastered over the promotional material?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 01-Jul-13 20:54:40

In fact Coorong I quoted it on June 20
"Do not mislead us all Grimma: if you google "measles Vitamin A" not one of the sources on the first page is the NHS. When you do eventually find the NHS resource, it's also misleading. "Vitamin A supplements have been shown in some studies to help prevent some of the serious complications arising from a measles infection, although it is not clear how they help." Deliberately intended to make it look like a sort of maverick, untested idea. Not well-tested and recommended by the WHO."

So yes, we all know about it we just think it's rubbish well me anyway

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 01-Jul-13 20:50:53

The ironic thing is, most of the people who've posted that NHS link have not exactly been madlyprovaccineunderanycircumstances. They've been people finding fault with it. I doubt certain people even knew about it before it appeared here. I am so grateful for all the links on this thread! Have learned a lot more which has confirmed me in my views on this.

StitchAteMySleep Mon 01-Jul-13 12:45:37

Coorong, I also linked to that page upthread. That link states that vitamin A deficiency is very rare. It is not very rare if one tenth of children aged 1.5 to 18 do not have an intake of vitamin A above the LRNI and more do not have the intake they need. The NHS information is incorrect.

Please read my last post.

Beachcomber Mon 01-Jul-13 12:03:48

Coorong - two suggestions;

1) read the thread.

2) don't be rude to other posters if you haven't read the thread and post a link that has already been posted twice, quoted at least twice and discussed.

That page has already been linked to and discussed. At length. By me and other posters. Indeed I allude to it in my above post (on this very page) and JackNoneReacher quotes the text concerning vitamin A from that link in her post of Sun 30-Jun-13 20:19:15. (Which is on this page if you view MN in pages)


coorong Mon 01-Jul-13 11:45:00

honestly - you lot - why don't you jut read the NHS advice on measles - it recommends Vitamin A treament
measles treatment so beachcomber, et al crawl back into your anti mmr cave and come up with another one

Beachcomber Mon 01-Jul-13 08:18:39

That's interesting.

So, on this thread we have seen that considerable percentages of children in the UK, the US and New Zealand do not get enough vitamin A - and that is before we even talk about how measles infection depletes vitamin A.

It clearly isn't enough to advise that children take a multivitamin and vaguely nod towards vitamin A which 'may' help with measles infection 'but we don't know why'.

Curlew, the link between vitamin A and measles was made in the 1930s.

You may well have been given cod liver oil as a child without that having been particularly to do with measles. Vitamin A isn't only used in the body to fight measles. Vitamin A is important to the immune system in general and is important for many other bodily mechanisms.

Vitamin A has multiple functions, it is important for growth and development, for the maintenance of the immune system and good vision.[2] Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eye in the form of retinal, which combines with protein opsin to form rhodopsin the light-absorbing molecule ,[3] that is necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision.[4] Vitamin A also functions in a very different role as an irreversibly oxidized form of retinol known as retinoic acid, which is an important hormone-like growth factor for epithelial and other cells.[5]

It was very common in the past to give children cod liver oil for general health. I give it to my children and there is not currently measles circulating in our region. (When measles was circulating a couple of years ago, I spoke to our doctor about upping the dose and about the possibility of giving too much. He didn't know a whole lot about it TBH. I don't live in the UK though - perhaps doctors there are up to speed on vitamin A/measles.)

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 01-Jul-13 07:20:09

Nice one stitch. So much for Vitamin A deficiency being "very rare" in developed countries.

StitchAteMySleep Sun 30-Jun-13 23:57:04

The reference mentioned above states that one tenth of children aged 1.5 to 18 years had intakes of vitamin A below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (LRNI). The LRNI is the amount of nutrient intake for the small number of people who have low requirements (2.5%), the rest need more. That means more than one tenth of children aged 1.5 to 18 years will not have the intake of vitamin A to meet their needs.

The same report also states that only one fifth of children aged 1.5 to 4.5 are taking non-prescribed supplements, including vitamin A. The message is clearly not loud enough.

StitchAteMySleep Sun 30-Jun-13 23:38:29

Yes they are, but they don't link children's nutritional status to their ability to fight off childhood illnesses like measles in the literature. and toddlers#close NHS page, read the comment on the bottom.

This NHS page for health professionals mentions that 8% of children under 5 in the UK do not have enough vitamin A in their diet. The reference they took that information from is here.

If parents realised how important vitamins and minerals are for immune function they might be more likely to ensure their child has regular multi vitamin. Some parents will not know what the immune system is, let alone understand it. They would also know that if their child exhibited symptoms of measles that vitamin A can help and seek out medical advice on that basis.

merrymouse Sun 30-Jun-13 21:51:29

Children of nursery age are already advised to take vitamin drops containing vitamin a.

curlew Sun 30-Jun-13 21:01:03

Look, the coffin was ONE leaflet from one health authority- could we park that one? We could trade scaremongering stories all night, but it wouldn't be very constructive, would it?

LaVolcan Sun 30-Jun-13 20:41:39

The coffins business is just scaremongering IMO and has no place anywhere in medicine not just with regard to vaccines. We all know we are going to die sometime, but how does rubbing it in help you?

What is needed is positive information. Instead of 'this could kill you', how about ' this will help you keep/become healthy.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 20:36:44

or maybe conflate this

do you want this (coffin) or this (image of vitamin bottle)

{that's a joke but not a very good one as I am tired)

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 20:33:07

I agree Jack

JackNoneReacher Sun 30-Jun-13 20:19:15

I've just had a letter home from nursery to say there has been a case of measles. It includes a link to a page which also includes a link to another page that says:

^Vitamin A supplements have been shown in some studies to help prevent some of the serious complications arising from a measles infection, although it is not clear how they help.

Supplements may be recommended for children under two years old with severe measles, or for children with vitamin A deficiency (although this is rare in the UK).

You may wish to ask your GP about whether your child would benefit from taking vitamin A supplements^

Now I think, that if measles is serious enough to justify leaflets with pictures of coffins on, any treatment that helps to avoid the serious complications should be on the initial letter in bold something like


Not on a link of a link in the last paragraph. And I'd certainly rather not wait until someone had measles and discussed it with a GP.

merrymouse Sun 30-Jun-13 19:00:51

I would only expect there to be publicity if it were thought advisable for people to maintain vit a levels during an epidemic incase they got measles. I wouldn't expect there to be general info about the treatment they would get from a doctor once they had measles, as they could get this information from the doctor.

LaVolcan Sun 30-Jun-13 18:37:33

On this thread we only have the word of one HCP who came on and didn't seem to know, and another person who quoted a friend as being scared of a measles outbreak and hadn't been told either.

Some will know, some won't, but there wasn't any publicity about Vitamin A during the South Wales outbreak - or at least I don't recall any. You might think there would have been when there was an epidemic.

merrymouse Sun 30-Jun-13 17:56:51

Sorry if I'm asking you to repeat yourself, but how do we know they don't know?

curlew Sun 30-Jun-13 17:42:40

This is interesting background reading. I particularly liked the sentence in the first paragraph about the pharmaceutical industry jumping on the bandwagon, even though trials were inconclusive. Seems nothing changes........!

LaVolcan Sun 30-Jun-13 17:39:03

And yet, some HCP's don't seem to know, despite the knowledge being around for 70 odd years.

merrymouse Sun 30-Jun-13 17:29:22

The website already advises them to talk to their doctor, who can presumably give advice on vitamin a and other treatment as would be the case for any other illness.

LaVolcan Sun 30-Jun-13 13:48:08

I don't know, and it doesn't matter that I don't, because I am not the one dishing out the advice to parents. But HCPs should know and should be able to give advice, especially if the information has been around for more than 70 years.

curlew Sun 30-Jun-13 13:16:36

When was the link between vitamin A and measles made? I was given cod liver oil as a child, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't anything to do with measles?

curlew Sun 30-Jun-13 13:14:27

"How much?
How long is a piece of string?"

But surely if you're advising parents to give their children vitamin A, you need to say how much?

Beachcomber Sun 30-Jun-13 12:50:07

If it were up to me it would say that measles used to be extremely common and that in those days, doctors and parents would routinely treat children with cod liver oil due to it being a good source of vitamin A which has been scientifically shown to reduce the risk of measles complications, improve immune function and help the body to fight virus replication.

Nowadays we are a lot less used to caring for children with measles and so, this once common knowledge is being lost and it is important to know about it in the eventuality of measles infection.

It would say that measles infection depletes vitamin A stores and that even well nourished healthy children can be vulnerable to measles induced deficiency (especially the under 2s) and that makes fighting the disease harder for the child and lays them open to being at risk for complications.

It would then talk about dosage, warn that it is possible to give too much vitamin A, give a web address for more comprehensive information and advise people to talk to their doctor.

Doctors should have an information pack on vitamin A and measles and they should liaise with the DoH and parents and make sure everyone is on the same page.

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