Vitamin D is vital for a well-functioning immune defense, yet a stunning 80 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 lack the nutrient, according to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Earlier research has shown that having too little vitamin D in your system increases the risk of life-threatening complications. It is also a well-known fact that vitamin D deficiency is a problem that is more widespread during the winter period, especially among exposed groups like seniors, nursing home residents, chronically ill, and dark-skinned people.
- and become increasingly dangerous
Around one billion people worldwide are believed to lack selenium, mainly due to nutrient-depleted farmland. Selenium deficiency makes us more vulnerable to infections and increases the risk of a virus mutating and becoming more dangerous. This was shown in previous studies of RNA virus that can cause influenza, hepatitis, HIV, and Keshan disease. Coronavirus that causes the common cold and COVID-19 infections also belongs to the group of RNA virus and has a unique ability to mutate. Three new mutated virus types have been found in mink and stand in the way of a future vaccine. Therefore, we are forced to bolster our immune defense, which is designed to attack virus from different angles. Still, even if we eat a healthy diet it can be challenging to get enough selenium, and that is why an increasing number of international researchers now recommend selenium supplements to help fight coronavirus.
- and lacking responsibility contributes to the complicated COVID-19 infections
Health authorities worldwide recommend supplements of vitamin D to older people, nursing home residents, and people who get too little sun. However, most old people are not familiar with these recommendations, and vitamin D supplements are not handed out routinely in old age homes. Because of the widespread problems with vitamin D deficiency in these vulnerable groups, their risk of disease is increased. Also, they risk that a COVID-19 infection becomes complicated and life-threatening. A new British study set out to investigate the current practical guidelines for administering vitamin D supplements to nursing home residents and the responsibility for making sure this happens. The investigators believe that we desperately need a solution to this serious problem right now, considering the scope of the pandemic.
Older people can easily become deficient of vitamins and minerals, which can weaken their immune system and make them more prone to infections and prolonged periods with disease. On the other hand, older people who take a multivitamin and mineral supplement with zinc and large quantities of vitamin C experience fewer days with disease and have less severe symptoms, according to a placebo-controlled study from Oregon State University. But many multivitamin supplements do not contain enough vitamin D and it is very important for older people to get enough of this nutrient.
A panel of physicians and professors collaborating with the Swiss Society for Nutrition (SSN) recently reviewed the scientific evidence on the role of micronutrients in supporting a well-functioning immune defense for optimal health with particular focus on viral infections related to COVID-19. They conclude that there is widespread lack of vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are crucial nutrients for the immune system. These deficiencies contribute to new waves of COVID-19 and can cause the infections to become life-threatening. The panel calls for immediate action with relevant focus on diet and supplements.
Magnesium deficiencies are rather common and can easily occur if you get too little magnesium from your daily diet. It has been known for a long time that lack of magnesium can cause tension headache and migraine. In fact, many randomized, double-blind studies show that high-dose magnesium supplements can relieve both migraine and headaches, provided the supplements have good bioavailability so the magnesium can enter the cells, where it controls a dozen of enzyme processes. A review article written by Italian scientists from Milan and published in the journal Nutrients takes a closer look at this.