New Study Shows That Vitamins A, E and D Can Reduce Respiratory Infections

Taken together, Vitamins A, E, and D could strengthen our immune defenses, especially our respiratory system.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamins have always played a role in strengthening our immune system, but the scientific community does not fully understand the mechanism by which they work. Vitamins A, E, C, and D have already been assigned properties that contribute to the proper functioning of our immune system. The novelty comes from the American Association for Nutrition, which stresses that this combination of vitamins prevents respiratory infections. The results were published in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health on October 27, 2020.

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For their study, researchers analyzed data from 6,115 adults who participated in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey Program (NDNS RP) in the UK between 2008 and 2016. The survey, conducted by the NDNS RP, collects information on foods and drinks consumed by British people each year. All survey participants kept diaries of their food and beverage intake for the duration of the program for at least three days. Of the 6,115 participants, about 1,000 were randomly selected to represent what British families eat.

The study

With this study, researchers wanted to find out what the effects of each individual vitamin were. Thus, they established a method to investigate the relationship between individual vitamins, and the respiratory issues reported by some candidates.

Only 33 cases of respiratory problems were found in the group. Most of these cases occurred in elderly people who were less likely to take vitamins A, E, C, and D regularly.

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The study showed that the intake of vitamins A and E from food and food supplements is associated with a lower prevalence of respiratory diseases. Similarly, vitamin D, when ingested through food supplements but not through food, also reduces respiratory diseases. However, no association was found between vitamin C and respiratory problems.

Vitamins in our diet

The main sources of vitamin A are animal livers and fish oils (cod liver oil, tuna liver oil, halibut oil), oysters, whole milk, cheeses, carrots, spinach, apricots, and many green vegetables (e.g. cabbage, turnips, and lettuce).

Vitamin E is found in large quantities in vegetable oils (wheat germ oil, argan oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, etc.) as well as in certain cereals and dried fruits (soy, peanuts, nuts, seeds).

Finally, vitamin D in our diet comes mainly from animal products (fish, eggs, butter), although it is found in small amounts in certain mushrooms and vegetables.

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Association between vitamin intake and respiratory complaints in adults from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey years 1–8

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