Vitamin D and the H1N1 Virus

Two important letters out from the good Doctor, John Cannell, M.D., of the Vitamin D Council.



September 17, 2009

I’m writing to alert readers to a crucial email from a physician who has evidence vitamin D is protective against H1N1 and to ask you, the reader, to contact your representatives in Washington to help protect Americans, especially children, from H1N1 before winter comes.

Dear Dr. Cannell:

Your recent newsletters and video about Swine flu (H1N1) prompted me to convey our recent experience with an H1N1 outbreak at Central Wisconsin Center (CWC). Unfortunately, the state epidemiologist was not interested in studying it further so I pass it on to you since I think it is noteworthy.

CWC is a long-term care facility for people with developmental disabilities, home for approx. 275 people with approx. 800 staff. Serum 25-OHD has been monitored in virtually all residents for several years and patients supplemented with vitamin D.

In June, 2009, at the time of the well-publicized Wisconsin spike in H1N1 cases, two residents developed influenza-like illness (ILI) and had positive tests for H1N1: one was a long-term resident; the other, a child, was transferred to us with what was later proven to be H1N1.

On the other hand, 60 staff members developed ILI or were documented to have H1N1: of 17 tested for ILI, eight were positive. An additional 43 staff members called in sick with ILI. (Approx. 11-12 staff developed ILI after working on the unit where the child was given care, several of whom had positive H1N1 tests.)

So, it is rather remarkable that only two residents of 275 developed ILI, one of which did not develop it here, while 103 of 800 staff members had ILI. It appears that the spread of H1N1 was not from staff-to-resident but from resident-to-staff (most obvious in the imported case) and between staff, implying that staff were susceptible and our residents protected.


Norris Glick, MD
Central Wisconsin Center
Madison, WI

Dear Dr. Glick:

This is the first hard data that I am aware of concerning H1N1 and vitamin D. It appears vitamin D is incredibly protective against H1N1. Dr. Carlos Carmago at Mass General ran the numbers in an email to me. Even if one excludes 43 staff members who called in sick with influenza, 0.73% of residents were affected, as compared to 7.5% of staff. This 10-fold difference was statistically significant (P<0.001). That is, the chance that this was a chance occurrence is one less than one in a thousand.

Second, if you read my last newsletter, you will see that children with neurological impairments, like the patients at your hospital, have accounted for 2/3 of the childhood deaths for H1N1 so far in the USA. That is, the CDC knows, because they reported it, that patients with neurological impairments are more likely to die from H1N1.

The problem is that I cannot get anyone in authority at the CDC or the NIH to listen. I need readers to email or call their senators and congresspersons in Washington.

Ask your senator or congressperson to contact the CDC and NIH to complain about CDC and NIH inaction on Vitamin D and H1N1. Also, ask your senators and representative to demand congressional hearings on Vitamin D and H1N1, before it is too late. Here is the link below, just click it and follow instructions to contact your own represenatives.

John Cannell, MD
Vitamin D Council
585 Leff Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93422




1:30 PM PST, Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dear Dr. Cannell:

Thanks for your update about the hospital in Wisconsin. I have had similar anecdotal evidence from my medical practice here in Georgia. We are one of the 5 states with widespread H1N1 outbreaks.

I share an office with another family physician. I aggressively measure and replete vitamin D. He does not.

He is seeing one to 10 cases per week of influenza-like illness.

In my practice– I have had zero cases. My patients are universally on 2000-5000 IU to maintain serum levels 50-80 ng/ml.

Ellie Campbell, DO
Campbell Family Medicine
3925 Johns Creek Court Ste A
Suwannee GA 30024

Dear Dr. Campbell:

That’s good news. Now, if we just had a way for the CDC and the NIH to pay attention.

Critics say we should not recommend vitamin D to prevent influenza until it is proven to do so (It has not been).

The critics are thus saying, although they seem not to know it, you should be vitamin D deficient this winter until science proves being vitamin D sufficient is better than being Vitamin D deficient. Such advice is clearly unethical and has never ever been the standard of care.

This is not rocket science. If I am wrong, and Vitamin D does not prevent influenza, what is lost? A few dollars. If they are wrong, and it does prevent influenza, what is lost? So far, the CDC says 41 kids are dead from H1N1, and the flu season has not yet started.

Please contact your senators and congresspersons. Ask them to have hearings on vitamin D and H1N1:

John Cannell, MD
Vitamin D Council
585 Leff Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93422


Well I’m not into the congresscritter deal, but that’s just me and everyone can do what they want. As everyone knows, I’ve have been blogging about vitamin D for a long time, and I and my wife supplement D3 (don’t use D2) at 6,000 IU per day via gelcap (don’t use tablets).

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. epistemocrat on September 16, 2009 at 17:39

    Vitamin D + Probiotics = an even happier melody for immune support against pathogens like H1N1 (and C. Diff, MRSA, etc.).

    Fermented dairy: FAGE Greek Yogurt, Kefir


    Raw dairy = Raw cheese, Raw milk

    Provide both.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 16, 2009 at 18:23

      I have just recently come to love Total Fage, and even spooned right
      out of the tub.

      Richard Nikoley
      – Sent from my iPhone

      • epistemocrat on September 17, 2009 at 02:20

        Great; I often eat it that same way. Eating Total FAGE has been quite a fruitful experiment for me, personally.

    • Aaron Blaisdell on September 17, 2009 at 12:01

      Since last Thanksgiving, I've been taking 4-6k of Carlson's vitamin D3 drops daily in my kefir or yogurt. I also take fermented high-vitamin cod liver oil which has even more D3 (and the necessary A to process it). I've been doing about 2-4k daily for my family as well (including my 1 yo daughter). I can't say I haven't caught any colds in the past year, but what I have gotten have been very short (max of 1 week) and very mild (only really bugs me in the morning, but is almost imperceptible throughout the day). My 4 yo daughter is in day care and used to get a nasty cold every other month or so, but hasn't had a cold in the past 4 months (corresponding to about the same time I stopped using sun screen for the family). It's amazing to go back to the old research by Weston Price, Edward Mellanby, and Francis Pottenger and see that they basically had the answers to the role of fat-soluble vitamins in preventing and minimizing infection all along! Glad to see some of these old truths are making a comeback.

      • epistemocrat on September 18, 2009 at 01:20

        “It's amazing to go back to the old research by Weston Price, Edward Mellanby, and Francis Pottenger and see that they basically had the answers to the role of fat-soluble vitamins in preventing and minimizing infection all along! Glad to see some of these old truths are making a comeback.”

        I am doing the best to carry this Ancestral (Pottenger) Torch as far as I can.

        Great post, Richard, and wonderful additions, Aaron. Thanks.

        Vit D + (good, which includes animal) Fat + (good) Bacteria = powerful immune system support meritage. VDFB.

  2. Sally T on September 16, 2009 at 18:38

    Fascinating, but I can't find these letters on the Vit D site. Can you post a link?

    • Richard Nikoley on September 16, 2009 at 18:42

      They came via email, so I haven't checked for a link.

  3. dancinpete on September 17, 2009 at 10:53

    Hi Richard,

    I was wondering if you could elaborate on why you prefer using gelcaps rather than tablets. thanks.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 17, 2009 at 12:57

      Dr. William Davis' experience:


  4. Ross on September 17, 2009 at 20:22

    I always recommend Vitamin D3 of at least 5,000 iu per day in fat or oil to my nearest and dearest.

    I got the emails too from Doctor John Cannell.

  5. […] I have stayed mostly away from this topic until now, except to point out in past posts that adequate vitamin D levels seem to be very protective against influenza, and perhaps specifically to H1N1. […]

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Follow by Email8k