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: 31 December 2021.

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 and Collections 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

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

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 (9 papers)

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Research

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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
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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
Viewed by 851
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 1 | Viewed by 937
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 3351
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 2 | Viewed by 3180
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 16 | Viewed by 12324
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 23 | Viewed by 2428
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 17 | Viewed by 2033
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 220 | Viewed by 48040
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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