An estimated one billion people around the world lack vitamin D, which increases their risk of COVID-19 infections and new strains of the virus that become complicated and potentially life-threatening. In November 2020, the authorities of Andalusia, a Spanish province, started giving vulnerable groups of people supplements of a particularly active form of vitamin D. The result of this intervention showed quickly. The number of patients in intensive care plummeted and the death rate dropped by 82 percent. Meanwhile, the death rate in Great Britain and many other countries went up, most likely because vitamin D deficiencies are more common during the winter period. A British politician has therefore urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to follow the Andalusian method, which is both effective and inexpensive. Furthermore, a Spanish study shows that supplementing hospitalized COVID-19 patients with active vitamin D can save lives. How much vitamin D do we need and how does the body activate vitamin D from sun exposure or from supplements?
Vitamin B6 is important for our energy levels, immune defense, nervous system, and a host of other functions. Vitamin B6 may even be able to reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, according to an article written by Japanese, Chinese, and Thai scientists and published in Frontiers in Nutrition. The researchers refer to several clinical studies that show how vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc are able to reduce serious symptoms in COVID-19 patients, and they call for more studies of vitamin B6, simply because patients that are severely affected by COVID-19 often suffer from traumatic diseases and lack of several essential nutrients.
The most common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Lack of certain nutrients can contribute to the development of these conditions. On the other hand, the diseases and the therapies used to treat them may also impair the body’s ability to absorb or utilize certain nutrients, thereby starting a vicious cycle that can make the disease worse. This was demonstrated in a new Greek study that is published in Nutrients. Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases primarily occur in the Western countries and especially at northern latitudes, which suggests that sun exposure and typically Western diets pay a major role in the development of these diseases.
During pregnancy, the unborn child is totally dependent on the mother’s vitamin D status. Vitamin D is primarily known for its role in supporting bone development. However, the vitamin is also of vital importance to the child’s brain, cognitive skills, and intelligence. According to a new, American study that is published in The Journal of Nutrition, this is why it is so important for pregnant women to have optimal vitamin D levels in their blood. The researchers point to the fact that vitamin D deficiencies are rather common and mention that they observed significantly lower blood levels of the nutrient in pregnant women of color. They hope their study can contribute to increased focus on the benefits of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy.
Selenium is an essential trace element that supports a host of different proteins and antioxidants that are important for pregnancy. According to a new Norwegian population study that is published in the science journal Nutrients, lack of selenium during pregnancy may stunt the growth of the fetus and result in low birth weight. This may have consequences for the child’s growth, cognitive skills, and health. Selenium deficiencies are rather common in Norway and the rest of Europe and that is a problem.
- and an alarming need to establish responsibility
Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem, which increases the risk of complicated COVID-19 infections, muscle weakness, cancer, and a lot of other problems. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration now recommends that both children and adults take vitamin D supplements throughout the entire winter period and that particularly vulnerable groups take high-dosed vitamin D supplements all year round. However, the new recommendations have not yet been included in the Danish Health Authority’s awareness campaigns for fighting COVID-19 because vitamin D appears to have ended up in a legal gap between being a foodstuff on one side and medicine on the other. According to a British study that was published earlier, there is currently an alarming need to establish responsibility in order to make sure that nursing home residents and other exposed groups get their vitamin D supplements, just like they receive their prescription medicine.