Folic acid plays a role in tissue growth and fetal development during pregnancy. A new study that was presented at an annual congress for British psychologists in Brighton shows that folic acid supplements may even improve the child’s psychological development. This is vital for the child’s ability to handle his or her own feelings and managing socially.
In May 2017, new data linking vitamin D and fertility was presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology (ECE) in Lisbon. The new findings contribute to our understanding of vitamin D’s impact on male testosterone levels and of our knowledge about whether vitamin D supplements may actually improve fertility in both sexes. Involuntary infertility, a widespread problem, may be a result of many factors, but if the reason is a vitamin D deficiency, it is easy to treat with increased exposure to sunlight and the use of supplements to keep vitamin D levels optimal all year round.
For decades, medical science has claimed that fish oil increases the risk of bleeding and has therefore warned against taking fish oil supplements prior to surgery. A large, systematic review of studies that is now published in the Danish Medical Journal shows that fish oil supplements do prevent blood platelets from aggregating, but this biochemical effect is not associated with increased bleeding risk in connection with surgery. It is therefore safe to continue taking supplements – and eating oily fish.
It is no coincidence that sclerosis is more prevalent at the northern latitudes. A major factor is lack of vitamin D, a nutrient that we only synthesize from sunlight during the summer. A new study published in the scientific journal Neurology shows that the risk increases even more if people are overweight, and children are particularly vulnerable. As part of the strategy for preventing sclerosis, we must pay more attention to weight management and make sure to get plenty of vitamin D all year round and throughout life. Furthermore, various campaigns that warn against sun exposure and recommend the use of sunscreen should at the same time advise children and adults how to get enough vitamin D from other sources.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) is important for our nervous system and mental balance. Epidemiological studies have shown that vitamin B3-deficient diets are linked to aggression, and increased prevalence of homicide and suicide among people and cannibalism among animals. More than 60 years ago, Dr. Abram Hoffer observed that high doses of vitamin B3 had a positive effect on schizophrenia, and later studies have shown similar results. Lack of vitamin B3 may be caused by genetic, dietary, or environmental factors that are easy to correct.
Vitamin B12 is important for the development of the brain, and young children with low levels of the nutrient are challenged when it comes to solving cognitive tests such as puzzles, letter recognition, and the ability to understand the feelings of other children. Vitamin B12-deficient children are therefore more vulnerable and generally have a more difficult start in life. Researchers have demonstrated this in a study that is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.