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The Nutrition Society – COVID-19 and nutrition

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: Free

How will these courses work?

The Society is offering complementary COVID-19 webinars, delivered by the NSTA, to NHS colleagues. With appreciation for the extensive efforts of all NHS colleagues and all frontline workers, webinar registrations are available both live and pre-recorded to accommodate all of those wishing to participate.

Please email training@nutritionsociety.org from your NHS email address, alternatively list your work email address to confirm your place.

Nutrition, immunity and COVID-19: 27 April 2020 13:00 – 14:00

This webinar will explore how the immune system adopts different, though related, approaches to deal with pathogenic bacteria and viruses; why good nutrition and specific nutrients (mainly various vitamins and trace elements) are important to support the immune system and how those nutrients work; which nutrients might help to protect against respiratory infections; and how the gut microbiota affects the immune system and could reduce risk of respiratory infections. Where data from coronavirus infected patients are available they will be included. Severe respiratory infection with coronavirus can result in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and requires ventilatory support. ARDS is typified by a so-called cytokine storm, which is an out of control inflammatory response that becomes damaging to the individual. Findings from nutrition trials in critically ill patients with ARDS (but not related to coronavirus) will be reviewed, along with a recent Cochrane meta-analysis of this approach.

COVID-19: Why the interest in Vitamin D? 29 April 2020 13:00 – 14:00

The spread of novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the disease COVID-19 that is caused by SARS-CoV-2 has attracted a huge (renewed) interest in vitamin D; and in particular claims on social media and the world-wide web that vitamin D is the ‘magic-bullet’ “cure”.   What is key to our discipline of Nutritional Sciences is that the advice given to the public is evidence-based, accurate and timely since anything less would not only mislead but has the great potential to cause significant harm.   

Vitamin D is a bit special: indeed unique since it is a prohormone (which is produced in the skin during exposure to sunlight (UVB radiation at 290-315 nm) and not an actual ‘vital-amine’.   Vitamin D status is reflected by the level of the circulating metabolite 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), which is produced by hepatic hydroxylation of vitamin D coming from either skin (from UVB exposure) or the gut (from dietary intake).  It is well accepted that there is a relatively high prevalence of low vitamin D status globally. Vitamin D, via its active metabolites, regulates more than 200 genes (including those responsible for cellular proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis) and the discovery of the expression of nuclear vitamin D receptors (VDR) and hydroxylase enzymes in immune cells provides a scientific rationale for the potential role of vitamin D in maintaining immune homeostasis.   

This webinar on COVID-19 and vitamin D will review current scientific evidence of the link between vitamin D and influenza, upper respiratory tract infections and immune health; and will provide a summary of future research directions on any potential link between vitamin D and COVID-19 risk.  

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