World news – GB – Nutrition is essential to reduce the risk of certain infections: a high intake of vitamins A, E and D linked to fewer respiratory complaints


A high intake of vitamins A, E and D may be linked to less respiratory problems in adults, suggests a long-term analysis nationally representative of survey data, published online in the journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health

Findings warrant further study among different ethnic groups and geographies in light of current coronavirus pandemic, researchers suggest

Nutrition plays a key role in reducing the risk of many infections, although the exact way in which it boosts immunity is complex and not fully understood Vitamins A, E, C and D have previously been considered to contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system in the European Union, and the American Nutrition Association suggests that these vitamins may also help prevent respiratory infections

The researchers wanted to explore whether the intake of these vitamins from both diet and supplements could be linked to the prevalence of respiratory problems in a nationally representative sample of UK adults

They drew on information provided by 6,115 adult participants in the 2008-2016 National Food and Nutrition Survey Rolling Program (NDNS RP) who had completed three or more days of diet diaries The NDNS RP is an ongoing survey that collects information each year on all food and drink consumed from around 1000 randomly selected people living in private households across the UK

Respiratory complaints were reported by participants and were not diagnosed by a clinician They were defined broadly and included both infectious and non-infectious conditions, such as the common cold, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma

The researchers looked at intake from food only (continuous exposure) and intake from diet and supplements (binary exposure), taking into account potentially influencing factors, such as age, sex, weight (BMI), smoking, household income and total energy intake

In all, there were 33 cases of breathing problems These respondents were generally older and less likely to say they regularly took vitamin A, E, C or D supplements

There was no obvious association between BMI and vitamin intake, or between BMI and respiratory disorders, and associations with vitamin supplements could not be determined. C because none of the adults with respiratory problems reported taking it

But vitamin A and E intake from both diet and supplements was associated with a lower prevalence of respiratory problems in UK adults The main dietary sources of vitamin A include liver, whole milk, and cheese, as well as carrots, dark green leafy vegetables, and orange-colored fruits. The main dietary sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts and seeds

And vitamin D intake from supplements, but not from diet, was associated with fewer breathing problems, prompting researchers to suggest that the findings add to the current scientific debate about the value of supplementation. vitamin D

« About a fifth of the general population in the UK is estimated to be low in vitamin D, and more than 30% of adults aged 65 and over do not meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance » , they write

« Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that supplementation is essential to ensure maintenance of adequate vitamin D status and potentially indicate that vitamin D intake from diet alone may not help. to maintain adequate vitamin D status « 

This is an observational study, and as such, cannot establish the cause, besides which the number of respiratory complaints was low, which means that no inference can be made regarding the coronavirus pandemic, warn researchers

« Further research is needed to assess the implications of the current study in the context of the current coronavirus pandemic in 2019 using longitudinal cohort data, » they suggest

« Our study also highlights the need to collect more data on nutrition and respiratory disorders to cover larger geographic areas and high-risk groups, especially with a focus on other ethnicities » , they add

Shane McAuliffe, Scientific Communications Officer for the NNEdPro Nutrition & COVID-19 Working Group, said: “While recognizing the limitations of this data, it further adds to a growing body of interest and evidence for the role of vitamin D in the respiratory tract health

« Given our knowledge of the extent of vitamin D deficiency in the population, in balance with low cost and low risk of adverse events, it seems wise to provide supplementation with this key vitamin, especially for people most likely to be deficient « 

Professor Sumantra Ray, Executive Director of the NNEdPro Global Center for Nutrition & Health in Cambridge and Visiting Professor of Public Health at Imperial College London, added: «  Nationally representative data continues to remind us that micronutrient deficiencies are far from a thing of the past, even in higher income countries like the UK, and this trend is reflected in comparable global data sources from countries with less resources and countries with advanced health systems

« Despite this, micronutrient deficiencies are often overlooked as key contributors to the burden of malnutrition and ill health, posing an additional challenge during the Covid-19 pandemic »

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World news – GB – Nutrition key to reduce the risk of certain infections: high intake of vitamins A, E and D Linked to fewer respiratory complaints



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