Our nutritional status is of vital importance to our health and our ability to handle infections. Selenium has several functions in the immune system, including its role as an antioxidant and in counteracting unwanted inflammation. Selenium is also able to prevent virus from mutating and becoming more virulent or creating new waves of disease. A team of Chinese scientists have reviewed a number of studies of selenium and its key role in the defense against influenza, HIV, and other types of RNA virus. They have found, among other things, that the risk of contracting a COVID-19 infection is 10 times lower in areas where the soil is rich in selenium. Therefore, it is a huge problem that selenium deficiency due to selenium-depleted farmland is so widespread in Europe, China, Africa, and many other places.
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormone imbalance and the most common cause of involuntary female infertility. The disease brings on symptoms such as tiredness, sugar cravings, overweight, hirsutism, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. It turns out that women with PCOS also have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood and that can affect the development of the disease. Therefore, all women with PCOS should have their vitamin D levels checked and take supplements if necessary, according to a study from Saudi Arabia. In terms of PCOS prevention, it is also relevant to take a vitamin D supplement if you avoid the sun, wear full-body clothing, or live at northern latitudes.
The majority of sexually active people contract HPV (human papilloma virus), of which there are several types. Normally, the infection goes away by itself but in some cases it becomes chronic. This increases the risk of serious cell changes in the cervix which, in worst case, can result in cervical cancer. An American study has found that having adequate levels of five different antioxidants – albumin plus vitamins A, B2, E, and folic acid – may lower papilloma virus infections that are linked to cervical cancer.
According to Bruce Ames, an American biochemist, ageing processes are largely due to lack of nutrients. One important contributing factor is the fact that our uptake and utilization of vitamins and minerals decrease with age. In addition, a lot of different types of medicine block our ability to utilize different nutrients. As a result of this, many of our enzyme processes slow down, making our cells increasingly vulnerable and that increases our risk of disease. Nonetheless, there is a lot we can do to optimize our intake and utilization of nutrients, particularly with respect to vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc. It is also worth taking a look at Q10 for energy turnover and melatonin for healthy sleep. Our endogenous synthesis of both compounds decreases with age.
Breast cancer is very common in the Western world and modern society. The disease is thought to be associated with lifestyle factors and lack of essential nutrients. For instance, it has been known for a long time that lack of vitamin D increases the risk of breast cancer. According to a new study that is published in the science journal Endocrinology, there is also a link between lack of vitamin D and the development of metastases in the lungs. Previous research also shows that the widespread deficiency of selenium, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, and melatonin can increase the risk of breast cancer but supplements can help prevent the disease and possibly be used as add-on therapy.
The number of small children affected by asthma and allergy is a growing worldwide problem. Vitamin D deficiency is also an increasing problem among pregnant women and newborn babies. Vitamin D is important for a well-functioning immune defense and for that reason, a team of Dutch scientists have looked closer at the relation in a review article. They conclude that having sufficient vitamin D in the blood during pregnancy and the first years of life can lower the risk of developing asthma and allergies. The scientists also observed that vitamin D supplements can lessen the burden of these widespread diseases. Their study is published in Nutrients.