There has been a short break in Nutrition News articles as we, as a business, have had to double down our efforts to respond to increased volumes of customer demand but we do think it is important to make our readers aware of the latest nutritional studies.

While there has been a reduced number of nutritional studies published of late, as a result of the restrictions enforced by the global pandemic, there are a number that have shown particularly interesting findings.

Should more people be supplementing with vitamin D?

There is a lot of false information being spread about the pandemic, in particular about “miracle cures” and “treatments”, but this is a novel virus and not one that any academic or health professional has any clear evidence on how to tackle; therefore caution should be taken when reading any article that makes absolute claims about treatments and COVID-19.

That being said, the BBC recently published an article urging caution over the possible indirect side effects of self isolation during the pandemic, specifically a deficiency in vitamin D. With more people having to spend increased periods of time indoors, there is a real concern that deficiency in the so-called sunshine vitamin could become a problem for a lot of people.

The British public are already advised to supplement vitamin D at 10 micrograms (400 IU) per day, with many vitamin D specialist researchers suggesting much higher amounts, during the winter. This is because the sun is the greatest natural source of the vitamin, as vitamin D is produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight, and the UK’s sun exposure during the months of October-March is particularly low. This has led to Public Health England extending this advice throughout the summer as lockdown continues.

Vitamin D is important for a host of functions within the body, including the maintenance of normal bones and muscle function as well as contributing to the normal function of the immune system.

Do carrots have a positive effect on blood sugar?

There are a lot of health myths out there that are shared online and on social media, one of which is that carrots can raise blood sugar levels and therefore those with diabetes should avoid them; this is certainly not the case. Carrots are a healthful vegetable, packed with nutrients and this Medical News Today article looks in detail at the possibility that carrots might actually benefit blood sugar levels.

The article looks at several compounds within carrots that could have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, one such compound being a healthful source of carbohydrates that can help regulate blood sugar levels.

Carrots are also a great source of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which plays an important role in the pancreas and in the production of insulin-producing beta cells.

Could mixed-carotenoids offer protection for the skin from UV damage?

While sun exposure is important for securing vitamin D, significant exposure to UV rays can be damaging to the body. Much like previous research into the protective effects of astaxanthin on the skin against UV damage, a recent study from the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Germany, as reported in this NutraIngredients USA article, suggests that oral consumption of mixed-carotenoids could have a protective effect on the skin from UV irradiation.

The study involved 60 participants who were split into two groups and either supplemented with a mixed carotenoid antioxidant product that included beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin or a placebo, three times a day for 12 weeks.  Following the study, it was found that those who had consumed the supplement saw protective effects against UVA pigmentation and radiation in the form of increased UVA-induced minimal persistent pigmentation dose (MPPD) values.

While the study’s authors note that more research is needed to further address the findings, it is a positive outcome as the first clinical evidence that oral intake of carotenoids can protect human skin against UVA radiation.

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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.