Special Issue "Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Micronutrients and Human Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 112448

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Anitra Carr
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science, University of Otgao, Chriscthurch, New Zealand
Interests: vitamin C; pneumonia; sepsis; immune function; diabetes; metabolic health; mood; cognitive health; health-related quality of life; recommended dietary intakes
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Adrian Gombart
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Oregon, USA
Interests: vitamin D; immunity; infection; metabolic health; inflammation; microbiota, cancer

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

The global coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the paramount importance of immune health and the nutrient status of peoples worldwide. Vitamins C and D have important roles in both the innate and adaptive immune systems and are known to support healthy immune function. Both vitamins C and D have gene regulatory roles with the ability to up- and down-regulate thousands of genes, thus playing pleotropic roles in human health and disease. People from low- and middle-income countries tend to have inadequate micronutrient intakes and status, as do specific subgroups from high-income countries. This can affect their resistance to both communicable and non-communicable diseases and the severity of these diseases. In this Special Issue, we welcome review articles and research papers (both observational and interventional studies) that explore the role of vitamins C and D in all aspects of global health. 

Assoc. Prof. Anitra Carr
Prof. Adrian Gombart
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Global health
  • Low- and middle-income countries
  • Recommended dietary intakes
  • Infection, inflammation and immune health
  • Diabetes, microbiota and metabolic health
  • Mental and cognitive health
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Prevention and treatment of COVID-19

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Editorial
Multi-Level Immune Support by Vitamins C and D during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic
Nutrients 2022, 14(3), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030689 - 06 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1494
Abstract
Vitamins C and D have well-known immune supportive roles, with deficiencies in both vitamins predisposing to increased risk and severity of respiratory infections. Numerous studies have indicated that administration of these vitamins, particularly to people who are deficient, can decrease the risk and [...] Read more.
Vitamins C and D have well-known immune supportive roles, with deficiencies in both vitamins predisposing to increased risk and severity of respiratory infections. Numerous studies have indicated that administration of these vitamins, particularly to people who are deficient, can decrease the risk and severity of respiratory infections. This has stimulated an interest in the potential efficacy of these vitamins in people with novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection and its more severe disease (COVID-19). In this overview, we highlight the current research evidence around the multiple levels of immune support provided by vitamins C and D in the context of general respiratory infections and with a focus on the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. These include: prevention of infection; attenuating infection symptoms and severity; adjunctive therapy for severe disease; attenuating ongoing sequelae (long COVID); and immunisation support. Although some of these topics have not yet been investigated in great depth concerning SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, extensive research into the role of these vitamins in general respiratory infections has highlighted directions for future research in the current pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Research

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Article
Vitamin D, Vitamin D-Binding Proteins, and VDR Polymorphisms in Individuals with Hyperglycaemia
Nutrients 2022, 14(15), 3147; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14153147 - 30 Jul 2022
Viewed by 328
Abstract
Vitamin D reportedly plays an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus; however, this role is unclear and debated. This study investigated the association between 25(OH) vitamin D, vitamin D-binding proteins, and vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms in healthy individuals and those [...] Read more.
Vitamin D reportedly plays an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus; however, this role is unclear and debated. This study investigated the association between 25(OH) vitamin D, vitamin D-binding proteins, and vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms in healthy individuals and those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) from South Africa. A cross-sectional study was conducted involving subjects of mixed ancestry aged ≥20 years. Males presented with higher mean 25(OH) vitamin D levels than females, while females exhibited significantly higher serum vitamin D-binding protein levels. Significant differences in mean 25(OH) vitamin D levels were observed in normo-glycaemic, prediabetes, screen-detected DM, and known DM individuals. Vitamin D receptor SNPs Fok1 and Taq1 were not associated with glycaemic status. Fok1 was not associated with 25(OH) vitamin D deficiency, while Taq1 was associated with vitamin D insufficiency. This study showed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency in this South African population, with decreased vitamin D levels observed in hyperglycaemic individuals, which was not linked to either vitamin D-binding protein or polymorphisms in Fok1 of the VDR gene. These results may be used as a platform for further research into diagnosis and treatment of hyperglycaemia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Communication
Estimation of Vitamin C Intake Requirements Based on Body Weight: Implications for Obesity
Nutrients 2022, 14(7), 1460; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14071460 - 31 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1541
Abstract
Higher body weight is known to negatively impact plasma vitamin C status. However, despite this well-documented inverse association, recommendations on daily vitamin C intakes by health authorities worldwide do not include particular reference values for people of higher body weight. This suggests that [...] Read more.
Higher body weight is known to negatively impact plasma vitamin C status. However, despite this well-documented inverse association, recommendations on daily vitamin C intakes by health authorities worldwide do not include particular reference values for people of higher body weight. This suggests that people of higher body weight and people with obesity may be receiving insufficient vitamin C in spite of ingesting the amounts recommended by their health authorities. The current preliminary investigation sought to estimate how much additional vitamin C people with higher body weights would need to consume in order to attain a comparable vitamin C status to that of a lower weight person consuming an average Western vitamin C intake. Data from two published vitamin C dose-concentration studies were used to generate the relationship: a detailed pharmacokinetic study with seven healthy non-smoking men and a multiple depletion–repletion study with 68 healthy non-smoking men of varying body weights. Our estimates suggest that an additional intake of 10 mg vitamin C/day is required for every 10 kg increase in body weight to attain a comparable plasma concentration to a 60 kg individual with a vitamin C intake of ~110 mg/day, which is the daily intake recommended by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Thus, individuals weighing e.g., 80 and 90 kg will need to consume ~130 and 140 mg vitamin C/day, respectively. People with obesity will likely need even higher vitamin C intakes. As poor vitamin C status is associated with increased risk of several chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, these findings may have important public health implications. As such, dose-finding studies are required to determine optimal vitamin C intakes for overweight and obese people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Article
Vitamin D Status among First-Generation Immigrants from Different Ethnic Groups and Origins: An Observational Study Using the Canadian Health Measures Survey
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2702; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082702 - 05 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1254
Abstract
One in five Canadians are first-generation immigrants. Evidence suggests the baseline risk for vitamin D (vitD) deficiency is increased among immigrants who move from equatorial to northern countries. We investigated the prevalence and determinants of vitD deficiency/insufficiency among first-generation immigrants compared with native-born [...] Read more.
One in five Canadians are first-generation immigrants. Evidence suggests the baseline risk for vitamin D (vitD) deficiency is increased among immigrants who move from equatorial to northern countries. We investigated the prevalence and determinants of vitD deficiency/insufficiency among first-generation immigrants compared with native-born Canadians and identified explanatory covariables. We used a cross-sectional design with data from the national Canadian Health Measures Survey (Cycles 3 and 4) (11,579 participants aged 3–79 years). We assessed serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (S-25(OH)D) levels, sociodemographic and environmental factors, immigration status, length of time in Canada, vitD-rich food intake, ethnicity, and place of birth. Immigrants had lower mean S-25(OH)D than non-immigrants (51.23 vs. 62.72 nmol/L, p < 0.001). Those with younger age at the time of immigration (<18 years) had a high risk for low vitD, and S-25(OH)D levels increased with the length of time they had lived in Canada. The highest deficiency levels were in immigrants born in Morocco, India, and Lebanon compared with native-born Canadians. Ethnicity was the factor most strongly associated with S-25(OH)D. Compared with the white ethnic grouping, the Japanese had the highest level of vitD deficiency, followed by Arabs and Southeast Asians. Ethnic variations, dietary intake, and lifestyle factors are the main predictors of/explanatory factors for vitD status among Canadian immigrants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Article
Prevalence of Hypovitaminosis C and its Relationship with Frailty in Older Hospitalised Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study
Nutrients 2021, 13(6), 2117; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13062117 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1554
Abstract
Frailty is common in older hospitalised patients and may be associated with micronutrient malnutrition. Only limited studies have explored the relationship between frailty and vitamin C deficiency. This study investigated the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency and its association with frailty severity in [...] Read more.
Frailty is common in older hospitalised patients and may be associated with micronutrient malnutrition. Only limited studies have explored the relationship between frailty and vitamin C deficiency. This study investigated the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency and its association with frailty severity in patients ≥75 years admitted under a geriatric unit. Patients (n = 160) with a mean age of 84.4 ± 6.4 years were recruited and underwent frailty assessment by use of the Edmonton Frail Scale (EFS). Patients with an EFS score <10 were classified as non-frail/vulnerable/mildly frail and those with ≥10 as moderate–severely frail. Patients with vitamin C levels between 11–28 μmol/L were classified as vitamin C depleted while those with levels <11 μmol/L were classified as vitamin C deficient. A multivariate logistic regression model determined the relationship between vitamin C deficiency and frailty severity after adjustment for various co-variates. Fifty-seven (35.6%) patients were vitamin C depleted, while 42 (26.3%) had vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C levels were significantly lower among patients who were moderate–severely frail when compared to those who were non-frail/vulnerable/mildly frail (p < 0.05). After adjusted analysis, vitamin C deficiency was 4.3-fold more likely to be associated with moderate–severe frailty (aOR 4.30, 95% CI 1.33-13.86, p = 0.015). Vitamin C deficiency is common and is associated with a greater severity of frailty in older hospitalised patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Article
Initial Evidence of Variation by Ethnicity in the Relationship between Vitamin C Status and Mental States in Young Adults
Nutrients 2021, 13(3), 792; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030792 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1451
Abstract
Higher fruit and vegetable intake has been associated with improved mood, greater vitality, and lower stress. Although the nutrients driving these benefits are not specifically identified, one potentially important micronutrient is vitamin C, an important co-factor for the production of peptide hormones, carnitine [...] Read more.
Higher fruit and vegetable intake has been associated with improved mood, greater vitality, and lower stress. Although the nutrients driving these benefits are not specifically identified, one potentially important micronutrient is vitamin C, an important co-factor for the production of peptide hormones, carnitine and neurotransmitters that are involved in regulation of physical energy and mood. The aim of our study was to investigate the cross-sectional relationship between blood plasma vitamin C status and mood, vitality and perceived stress. A sample of 419 university students (aged 18 to 35; 67.8% female) of various ethnicities (49.2% European, 16.2% East Asian, 8.1% Southeast/Other Asian, 9.1% Māori/Pasifika, 11.5% Other) provided a fasting blood sample to determine vitamin C status and completed psychological measures consisting of the Profile of Mood States Short Form (POMS-SF), the vitality subscale of the Rand 36-Item Short Form (SF-36), and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Participants were screened for prescription medication, smoking history, vitamin C supplementation, fruit/juice and vegetable consumption, kiwifruit allergies, excessive alcohol consumption and serious health issues, and provided age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status information, which served as covariates. There were no significant associations between vitamin C status and the psychological measures for the sample overall. However, associations varied by ethnicity. Among Māori/Pasifika participants, higher vitamin C was associated with greater vitality and lower stress, whereas among Southeast Asian participants, higher vitamin C was associated with greater confusion on the POMS-SF subscale. These novel findings demonstrate potential ethnicity-linked differences in the relationship between vitamin C and mental states. Further research is required to determine whether genetic variation or cultural factors are driving these ethnicity differences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Article
Trends in Vitamin C Consumption in the United States: 1999–2018
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020420 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1695
Abstract
Low intakes of fruits and vegetables have resulted in suboptimal intakes of several micronutrients, including vitamin C. This cross-sectional study used data from 84,902 children/adults (≥1 y) who completed a 24-h dietary recall as part of the United States National Health and Nutrition [...] Read more.
Low intakes of fruits and vegetables have resulted in suboptimal intakes of several micronutrients, including vitamin C. This cross-sectional study used data from 84,902 children/adults (≥1 y) who completed a 24-h dietary recall as part of the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2018). Mean vitamin C intakes from foods/beverages were calculated as were trends in major food/beverage sources of vitamin C. Percentages below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) were estimated. Overall, mean vitamin C consumption declined by 23% (97–75 mg/d; p-value for trend < 0.001). 100% fruit juice was the leading source of vitamin C (25.6% of total or 21.7mg/d), but this declined by 48% (25–13 mg/d; p-value for trend < 0.001). Whole fruit increased among children/adolescents (+75.8%;10–17 mg/d; p-value for trend < 0.001), but not adults, while the vegetable contribution was generally unchanged. The proportion of the population below the EAR increased by 23.8% on a relative scale or 9 percentage points on an absolute scale (38.3–47.4%). Declines in vitamin C intake is driven largely by decreases in fruit juice coupled with modest increases in whole fruit. Due to associations between vitamin C intake and numerous health outcomes these trends warrant careful monitoring moving forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Article
KiwiC for Vitality: Results of a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial Testing the Effects of Kiwifruit or Vitamin C Tablets on Vitality in Adults with Low Vitamin C Levels
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2898; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092898 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4843
Abstract
Consumption of vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables has been associated with greater feelings of vitality. However, these associations have rarely been tested in randomized controlled trials. The aim of the current study was to test the effects of eating a vitamin C-rich food [...] Read more.
Consumption of vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables has been associated with greater feelings of vitality. However, these associations have rarely been tested in randomized controlled trials. The aim of the current study was to test the effects of eating a vitamin C-rich food (kiwifruit) on subjective vitality and whether effects are driven by vitamin C. Young adults (n = 167, 61.1% female, aged 18–35) with plasma vitamin C <40 µmol/L were randomized into three intervention conditions: kiwifruit (2 SunGold™ kiwifruit/day), vitamin C (250 mg tablet/day), placebo (1 tablet/day). The trial consisted of a two-week lead-in, four-week intervention, and two-week washout. Plasma vitamin C and vitality questionnaires (total mood disturbance, fatigue, and well-being) were measured fortnightly. Self-reported sleep quality and physical activity were measured every second day through smartphone surveys. Nutritional confounds were assessed using a three-day food diary during each study phase. Plasma vitamin C reached saturation levels within two weeks for the kiwifruit and vitamin C groups. Participants consuming kiwifruit showed significantly improved mood and well-being during the intervention period; improvements in well-being were sustained during washout. Decreased fatigue and increased well-being were observed following intake of vitamin C alone, but only for participants with consistently low vitamin C levels during lead-in. Diet records showed that participants consuming kiwifruit reduced their fat intake during the intervention period. Intervention effects remained significant when adjusting for age and ethnicity, and were not explained by sleep quality, physical activity, BMI, or other dietary patterns, including fat intake. There were no changes in plasma vitamin C status or vitality in the placebo group. Whole food consumption of kiwifruit improved subjective vitality in adults with low vitamin C status. Similar, but not identical, changes were found for vitamin C tablets suggesting that additional properties of kiwifruit may contribute to improved vitality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Review

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Review
Feasibility of Vitamin C in the Treatment of Post Viral Fatigue with Focus on Long COVID, Based on a Systematic Review of IV Vitamin C on Fatigue
Nutrients 2021, 13(4), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13041154 - 31 Mar 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 7497
Abstract
Fatigue is common not only in cancer patients but also after viral and other infections. Effective treatment options are still very rare. Therefore, the present knowledge on the pathophysiology of fatigue and the potential positive impact of treatment with vitamin C is illustrated. [...] Read more.
Fatigue is common not only in cancer patients but also after viral and other infections. Effective treatment options are still very rare. Therefore, the present knowledge on the pathophysiology of fatigue and the potential positive impact of treatment with vitamin C is illustrated. Additionally, the effectiveness of high-dose IV vitamin C in fatigue resulting from various diseases was assessed by a systematic literature review in order to assess the feasibility of vitamin C in post-viral, especially in long COVID, fatigue. Nine clinical studies with 720 participants were identified. Three of the four controlled trials observed a significant decrease in fatigue scores in the vitamin C group compared to the control group. Four of the five observational or before-and-after studies observed a significant reduction in pre–post levels of fatigue. Attendant symptoms of fatigue such as sleep disturbances, lack of concentration, depression, and pain were also frequently alleviated. Oxidative stress, inflammation, and circulatory disorders, which are important contributors to fatigue, are also discussed in long COVID fatigue. Thus, the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, endothelial-restoring, and immunomodulatory effects of high-dose IV vitamin C might be a suitable treatment option. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Review
Vitamin C—An Adjunctive Therapy for Respiratory Infection, Sepsis and COVID-19
Nutrients 2020, 12(12), 3760; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123760 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 58 | Viewed by 18697
Abstract
There are limited proven therapies for COVID-19. Vitamin C’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects make it a potential therapeutic candidate, both for the prevention and amelioration of COVID-19 infection, and as an adjunctive therapy in the critical care of COVID-19. This literature review [...] Read more.
There are limited proven therapies for COVID-19. Vitamin C’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects make it a potential therapeutic candidate, both for the prevention and amelioration of COVID-19 infection, and as an adjunctive therapy in the critical care of COVID-19. This literature review focuses on vitamin C deficiency in respiratory infections, including COVID-19, and the mechanisms of action in infectious disease, including support of the stress response, its role in preventing and treating colds and pneumonia, and its role in treating sepsis and COVID-19. The evidence to date indicates that oral vitamin C (2–8 g/day) may reduce the incidence and duration of respiratory infections and intravenous vitamin C (6–24 g/day) has been shown to reduce mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stays, and time on mechanical ventilation for severe respiratory infections. Further trials are urgently warranted. Given the favourable safety profile and low cost of vitamin C, and the frequency of vitamin C deficiency in respiratory infections, it may be worthwhile testing patients’ vitamin C status and treating them accordingly with intravenous administration within ICUs and oral administration in hospitalised persons with COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Review
Global Vitamin C Status and Prevalence of Deficiency: A Cause for Concern?
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 2008; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072008 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 51 | Viewed by 4803
Abstract
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that must be obtained through the diet in adequate amounts to prevent hypovitaminosis C, deficiency and its consequences—including the potentially fatal deficiency disease scurvy. Global vitamin C status and prevalence of deficiency has not previously been reported, [...] Read more.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that must be obtained through the diet in adequate amounts to prevent hypovitaminosis C, deficiency and its consequences—including the potentially fatal deficiency disease scurvy. Global vitamin C status and prevalence of deficiency has not previously been reported, despite vitamin C’s pleiotropic roles in both non-communicable and communicable disease. This review highlights the global literature on vitamin C status and the prevalence of hypovitaminosis C and deficiency. Related dietary intake is reported if assessed in the studies. Overall, the review illustrates the shortage of high quality epidemiological studies of vitamin C status in many countries, particularly low- and middle-income countries. The available evidence indicates that vitamin C hypovitaminosis and deficiency is common in low- and middle-income countries and not uncommon in high income settings. Further epidemiological studies are required to confirm these findings, to fully assess the extent of global vitamin C insufficiency, and to understand associations with a range of disease processes. Our findings suggest a need for interventions to prevent deficiency in a range of at risk groups and regions of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Review
Factors Affecting Vitamin C Status and Prevalence of Deficiency: A Global Health Perspective
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 1963; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071963 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 40 | Viewed by 4125
Abstract
A recent review of global vitamin C status has indicated a high prevalence of deficiency, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, as well as in specific subgroups within high-income countries. Here, we provide a narrative review of potential factors influencing vitamin C status [...] Read more.
A recent review of global vitamin C status has indicated a high prevalence of deficiency, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, as well as in specific subgroups within high-income countries. Here, we provide a narrative review of potential factors influencing vitamin C status globally. The in vivo status of vitamin C is primarily affected by dietary intake and supplement use, with those who supplement having a higher mean status and a lower prevalence of deficiency. Dietary intake can be influenced by cultural aspects such as traditional cooking practices and staple foods, with many staple foods, such as grains, contributing negligible vitamin C to the diet. Environmental factors can also affect vitamin C intake and status; these include geographic region, season, and climate, as well as pollution, the latter partly due to enhanced oxidative stress. Demographic factors such as sex, age, and race are known to affect vitamin C status, as do socioeconomic factors such as deprivation, education and social class, and institutionalization. Various health aspects can affect vitamin C status; these include body weight, pregnancy and lactation, genetic variants, smoking, and disease states, including severe infections as well as various noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Some of these factors have changed over time; therefore, we also explore if vitamin C status has shown temporal changes. Overall, there are numerous factors that can affect vitamin C status to different extents in various regions of the world. Many of these factors are not taken into consideration during the setting of global dietary intake recommendations for vitamin C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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Review
Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect against Viral Infections
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041181 - 23 Apr 2020
Cited by 363 | Viewed by 61644
Abstract
Public health practices including handwashing and vaccinations help reduce the spread and impact of infections. Nevertheless, the global burden of infection is high, and additional measures are necessary. Acute respiratory tract infections, for example, were responsible for approximately 2.38 million deaths worldwide in [...] Read more.
Public health practices including handwashing and vaccinations help reduce the spread and impact of infections. Nevertheless, the global burden of infection is high, and additional measures are necessary. Acute respiratory tract infections, for example, were responsible for approximately 2.38 million deaths worldwide in 2016. The role nutrition plays in supporting the immune system is well-established. A wealth of mechanistic and clinical data show that vitamins, including vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and folate; trace elements, including zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, and copper; and the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid play important and complementary roles in supporting the immune system. Inadequate intake and status of these nutrients are widespread, leading to a decrease in resistance to infections and as a consequence an increase in disease burden. Against this background the following conclusions are made: (1) supplementation with the above micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids is a safe, effective, and low-cost strategy to help support optimal immune function; (2) supplementation above the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), but within recommended upper safety limits, for specific nutrients such as vitamins C and D is warranted; and (3) public health officials are encouraged to include nutritional strategies in their recommendations to improve public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
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