The beneficial role of nutrients for immunity

Summary This review, conducted by two Egyptian research centers, gives an overview of the role of various nutrients on immune function. Several studies showed, among others, that multiple micronutrients, essential fatty acids, some amino acids, but also pre- and probiotics boost the immune system and beneficially affect immune function. At the same time, micronutrient deficiencies…

Probiotics can reduce the risk of infectious diseases in athletes

Summary This review, conducted by several Australian research institutes, gives an overview of the effects of probiotics on immunity after intense physical exercise. Probiotics are well-known as modulators of the so-called microbiota. A well-functioning microbiota contains varied bacteria, which, among others, contribute to the regulation of the immune system and protection of the body from…

Ecuadorian elderly are often affected by micronutrient deficiency and infectious diseases

Summary According to this Ecuadorian study, micronutrient deficiencies and infectious diseases are common in the Ecuadorian elderly. In this study, 145 elderly were involved. It showed, among others, that participants in this group have deficiencies of zinc (50%), iron (44%), vitamin B12 (43%), vitamin D (19%), and folate (18%). Furthermore, an increased number of respiratory…

Zinc supplementation can prevent and reduce diarrhea and pneumonia in young children

Summary This review gives an overview of the beneficial effects of zinc supplementation on infectious diseases like diarrhea and their prevention and treatment in young children. Studies show that zinc supplementation can reduce diarrhea incidence (11 to 23%), the duration of the illness (up to 9%), and diarrhea mortality (23%) in young children. Other studies…

Sufficient zinc levels decrease pneumonia incidence in nursing home residents

Summary Zinc plays an important role in immune function. Therefore, a study executed by several research institutes in Boston, USA, investigated whether zinc concentrations in the blood are associated with the incidence and duration of pneumonia, use of antibiotics, and pneumonia-associated deaths. 578 residents of 33 nursing homes in Boston were involved. All participants received…

Vitamin C and zinc play essential role in immune function

Summary This review, conducted by Swiss researchers, gives an overview of several studies investigating the immune-enhancing effect of vitamin C and zinc and their influence on clinical conditions. The results showed that vitamin C concentrations rapidly decline during infections and that supplementation of vitamin C improves the function of the human immune system. Zinc deficiency…

Selenium deficiency increases susceptibility to influenza virus infections

Summary To determine if selenium deficiency intensifies an influenza infection, selenium-deficient mice were infected with a mild strain of the influenza virus. The results showed that selenium-deficient mice developed much more severe lung tissue inflammations than mice without selenium deficiency. The researchers concluded that an adequate intake of antioxidants, like selenium, is essential for a…

Probiotic bacteria reduce duration and severity of the common cold

Summary A German research institute conducted this study to investigate the long-term effects of probiotic bacteria consumption on various respiratory tract infections. To this end, 479 healthy adults were supplemented daily with vitamins and minerals, and additionally probiotic bacteria (test group) or without probiotic bacteria (control group). The intake of the probiotic led to a…

Selenium deficiency related to various infectious diseases

Summary This review gives an overview of the role of selenium deficiency on the development of several viral infectious diseases. According to numerous studies, selenium deficiency negatively affects the metabolic system, impairs the immune response, stimulates the progression of viral infectious diseases, and increases the number of harmful viral mutations. Additionally, some studies also showed…

Micronutrient deficiencies associated with impaired immune response and higher burden of respiratory infections

Summary This study, conducted by American and Ecuadorian researchers, investigated the effects of micronutrient deficiencies on the immune response and respiratory infections in elderly Ecuadorians. 352 elderly were involved in this study. Several important micronutrients for immune function were measured in the participants’ blood. The results showed that micronutrient deficiencies were associated with a high…

Increased selenium intake improves immune function and treatment of poliovirus infections

Summary This study, conducted by several British researchers, aimed to investigate whether additional selenium intake can improve immune function, support the treatment of poliovirus infections, and decrease mutations of the poliovirus in healthy British adults. Therefore, 22 British participants with relatively low plasma selenium levels received additional selenium (50 µg or 100 µg) or a…

Micronutrient status affects immune response and infectious diseases in elderly

Summary This review, executed by a research institute in Boston, USA, gives an overview of different factors involved in aging in less developed countries. For instance, malnutrition and related micronutrient deficiencies account for many chronic diseases and increase the incidence of infectious diseases due to an impaired immune function. According to various studies, supplementation with…

Zinc supplementation in pregnant women may prevent placental malaria

Summary This study, conducted by several American, Tanzanian, and Canadian research institutes, aimed to investigate whether daily oral supplementation with vitamin A and/or zinc can reduce the risk of placental malaria and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Placental malaria is a life-threatening illness caused primarily by infection with a malaria-causing parasite. 2500 pregnant women were divided into…

Vitamin D intake during pregnancy and infancy reduces primary care visits for acute respiratory infections during early childhood

Summary This study, conducted by the University of Auckland, New Zealand, investigated the effect of vitamin D supplementation on primary care visits during pregnancy and infancy due to acute respiratory infections. Additionally, the required dose to achieve a normal vitamin D status during infancy was determined. To this end, healthy pregnant women were assigned in…

Vitamin D supplementation reduces risk of acute respiratory infections in Mongolian children

Summary Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA, investigated the effect of vitamin D supplements on the risk of acute respiratory infections in children in Mongolia. To this end, 247 Mongolian schoolchildren were divided into two groups. The test group received milk supplemented with vitamin D (143 children), and the control group (104…

Vitamin D deficiency associated with hepatitis B-related liver diseases

Summary This study, conducted by research institutes from Vietnam and Germany, investigated the adverse effects of vitamin D deficiency on liver diseases associated with hepatitis B infections in patients in Vietnam. Vitamin D levels were determined in 400 chronic hepatitis B patients and 122 healthy control persons. The study results showed vitamin D inadequacy in…

Vitamin D supplementation prevents viral upper respiratory tract infections

Summary This study, conducted by a Canadian University, investigated whether vitamin D supplementation could prevent viral upper respiratory tract infections. 600 participants were divided into four groups. 1st group: vitamin D and gargling; 2nd group: placebo and gargling; 3rd group: vitamin D only, and 4th group: placebo only. The results showed that vitamin D supplementation…

Vitamin D helps reduce respiration infections and antibiotic use in patients with frequent respiratory tract infections

Summary This Swedish study aimed to investigate whether vitamin D supplementation could reduce infectious symptoms and antibiotic consumption in patients with frequent respiratory infections. 140 suitable participants were involved who received either a supplement or a placebo daily for one year. The results showed a significantly reduced number of infections and decreased antibiotic use in…

Patients with respiratory viral infections benefit from vitamin D supplementation

Summary According to this review by Romanian and British research institutes, vitamin D can benefit immune response (the reaction which occurs within our organism to defend against foreign invaders) in respiratory viral infectious diseases. This is because patients with respiratory infections are often vitamin D deficient. As a result of its increased antiviral and anti-inflammatory…

Vitamin D supplementation is a beneficial strategy for preventing bacterial and viral infections

Summary This review, conducted by several Canadian and British research institutes, gives an overview of the beneficial effects of vitamin D on the regulation of immune function. Vitamin D showed, among others, a beneficial interaction with multiple processes executed by the immune system and several effects on immune cells. Moreover, vitamin D deficiency at a…

Vitamin A supplements reduce morbidity and mortality in children in developing countries

Summary This review, conducted by several American and Canadian research institutes, gives an overview of studies investigating the effects of vitamin A on general morbidity and mortality in children aged between 6 and 59 months in low- and middle-income countries. The review shows that vitamin A significantly reduces general morbidity and mortality as an underlying…

Zinc supplementation improves immune response in children with Shigella infections

Summary This study, conducted by Bengali and Swedish research institutes, investigated whether short-term zinc supplementation improves the immune response in malnourished children with acute Shigella infections in Bangladesh. 28 children aged between 12 and 59 months were supplemented with zinc and other micronutrients daily for 2 weeks. A control group with 28 children received a…

Vitamin D reduces oxidative stress and metabolic disorders

Summary Studies suggest that vitamin D deficiency is associated with metabolic disorders such as hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and dyslipidemia (abnormal amount of lipids in the blood), as well as increased oxidative stress, which can cause a variety of diseases. Scientists at the Medical University of Łódź (Poland) explored the effect of vitamin D supplementation…

Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant vitamins can prevent atrial fibrillation after bypass surgery

Summary A study at the University of Chile explored whether omega-3 fatty acids and specific vitamins can strengthen the antioxidant system and, in this way, reduce the incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation. The antioxidant system is a group of enzymes and antioxidant molecules that control the formation of free radicals and reactive oxygen compounds and…

Intravenous iron supplementation improves symptoms of heart failure

Summary A multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted to evaluate the benefit and safety of long-term intravenous iron administration in patients with heart failure. For this purpose, 152 heart failure patients with iron deficiency received a daily intravenous iron supplement for one year. The treatment led to long-term improvements in the patients’ functional capacity (ability…

Coenzyme Q10 reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in coronary heart disease

Summary High oxidative stress and chronic inflammation may contribute to the development of coronary heart disease. Therefore, a study from Taiwan investigated the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of coenzyme Q10 in patients with coronary heart disease who were taking statins. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups. One group received 300 mg of coenzyme…

Combination of vitamin C and E has vasodilatory effect in patients with coronary heart disease

Summary Coronary heart disease is a narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries usually caused by the buildup of plaque. In this study, Turkish scientists investigated the vasodilatory effect of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin E (α-tocopherol) – i.e., their ability to widen blood vessels – in patients with coronary heart disease. For this…

Quercetin reduces risk of cardiovascular disease

Summary The present study investigated whether a quercetin supplement could reduce various risk factors for cardiovascular disease. For this purpose, 93 overweight or obese subjects with metabolic syndrome (simultaneous occurrence of several cardiovascular risk factors) were studied who supplemented their diet with quercetin for 6 weeks. The final results showed that dietary supplementation contributed to…

Dietary supplementation with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients reduces the risk of heart disease

Summary The study aimed to investigate the effect of a dietary supplement on the nutritional status of healthy adults and various biomarkers of heart disease. During the 8-week study period, 60 participants received a dietary supplement consisting of multivitamins, multiminerals, and phytonutrients. It was found that the subjects’ nutritional status improved, and cardiovascular biomarkers were…

Leucine-amino acid combination can improve body functions after stroke

Summary This study aimed to analyze the effects of a leucine-enriched amino acid supplement on muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical function in stroke patients with sarcopenia. The study involved 44 elderly stroke patients who took the aforementioned supplement for eight weeks. The subjects also performed a low-intensity rehabilitation program. The result showed that the…

Taurine reduces strokes

Summary This study investigated the effect of high-dose taurine supplementation in patients with recurrent stroke-like episodes. For this purpose, 10 patients were observed who received either 9 g or 12 g of taurine daily for 52 weeks. The results showed that oral taurine supplementation effectively reduced the incidence of stroke. Further details can be found…

Zinc sulfate as an effective preventive and therapeutic measure against the common cold

Summary This Turkish study aimed to determine the efficacy of prophylactic zinc sulfate treatment in reducing the common cold in children and evaluating the effectiveness of zinc sulfate in reducing the duration and severity of cold symptoms. 200 healthy children received a prophylactic oral zinc sulfate product (100 children) or placebo product (100 children) once…