Yet more research has come to light on the importance of vitamin D in supporting the body’s defences against respiratory illnesses. Read the latest research here, in this week’s Nutrition News.

The link between ginger and colds

Ginger has been used a cold remedy for a long time but is there any truth in the old wives tale? An article by Medical News Today looks to shed some light on the subject.

Ginger is considered to be antimicrobial, antiviral and is also thought to be an anti-inflammatory and act as an antioxidant, which could be beneficial when you have a cold. However, it is also a good source of zinc, which contributes to the normal function of the immune system, important for supporting the body’s defences against viral infections.

Ginger has numerous other benefits that could assist the body when vending off a cold, including being a good source of magnesium, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, which can both be an unfavourable side effect of having a cold.

It is also thought that oral consumption of ginger, grated in hot water with honey, can have a soothing effect on the throat during a cold, however, it does have a strong taste that some people find unpleasant, which is where food supplements can be used as a way of obtaining the nutrients.

Vitamin D linked with respiratory tract support

A new study, published in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, as reported by Science Daily, has discovered an association between average levels of vitamin D and numbers of respiratory infection and associated mortality rates across 20 European countries. This latest study reaffirms the advice laid out in one of our recent Nutrition News articles, which outlined the importance of supplementing with vitamin D.

The article describes the importance of vitamin D in aiding the body’s defence against respiratory illnesses as vitamin D modulates the response of white blood cells, preventing them from releasing too many inflammatory cytokines. This is important as respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19, are known to cause an excess of pro-inflammatory cytokines, illustrating the importance of normal vitamin D levels through safe sun exposure or through supplementation.

The study’s authors make clear that the findings show a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, not causation, but what the study does highlight is the importance of vitamin D supplementation among groups, such as the elderly, where vitamin D levels are frequently low.

The impact on vitamin K on bone health

Researchers Kyla Shea of the Vitamin K Laboratory at the USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Centre on Ageing (HNRCA) at Tufts University and Chris Hernadez of Cornell University’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have looked at the relationship between vitamin K and bone health. The findings, which were published in this NutraIngredients article, looked at vitamin K’s impact on bone density, with it previously only been associated with fracture risk.

The study looked at how the gut synthesises a different form of vitamin K and it is this form that could be affecting bone strength, though how it is doing this is yet to be determined and further research is needed. These new findings mean that it could be possible to improve bone strength through altering the gut microbiome to produce more vitamin K.

Vitamin K is included in many of Metabolics’s vitamin D supplements, such as Vitamin D3 and K2 and Vitamin D3 and K2 Oil, as vitamin K2 is needed for the bone hormone Osteocalcin, which takes calcium to the bones after D3 increases the calcium in the blood.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.