They help us to make our body work better and to defend ourselves more effectively against diseases. They are essential vitamins to keep us in good health and involved in thousands of metabolic processes from the production of red blood cells, to the maintenance of the immune system, to the good condition of the nervous structures and energy metabolism. The precious role played by these nutrients and how to overcome their possible deficiency in an innovative way is discussed in the conference “FilmTec®, a new way for an integrative care approach” which brought together in Rome some of the most authoritative international experts in the field of nutritional and bone metabolism to take stock of the new frontiers of food supplementation.
Covid, tiredness and muscle weakness for 6 out of 10 patients
How we ensure our ‘fix’ of vitamin D
Vitamins, as well as mineral salts, must be introduced with the diet since the body is unable to synthesize them on its own. Their deficiency can be due to various causes: from an insufficient intake of these substances through the diet, for example due to poor nutrition, little variety or limited choices due to intolerances; to an increased need, as occurs for example in pregnancy or in the presence of intestinal alterations that inhibit its correct absorption. Vitamin D, however, is an exception because its daily requirement comes only minimally (20-25%) from food, while the greatest contribution occurs thanks to the effect of sun exposure. In the summer we are all more exposed to light because we spend more time outdoors and are therefore able to make a good supply of vitamin D.
Covid-19, a supplement helps counteract the loss of muscle mass
by Mara Magistroni
When you risk a shortage
But some categories of people, whether it’s summer or winter, are exposed to the sun less than young people. These are infants and the elderly. For them, as well as for athletes who train in the winter, a vitamin D deficiency is quite common. “In the countries of the European Union, insufficient levels of Vitamin D are found in more than 50% of the population, who are at risk of musculoskeletal diseases, including osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass, i.e. sarcopenia,” he explains Jean-Yves Reginster, Department of Epidemiology, Public Health and Health Economics, Director of the WHO Center for the Epidemiology of Musculoskeletal Health and Aging at the University of Liège in Belgium.
Vitamin D and sports performance
We know by now how important Vitamin D is for bone health and for calcium and phosphorus metabolism, but now new research is investigating its effect in improving training and sports performance. Muscle is a potential target of Vitamin D and low levels in the body are thought to have direct and indirect effects on training and recovery times after prolonged exercise. Some studies show that low levels of Vitamin D are associated with low sports performance in terms of strength and aerobic performance and with a greater risk of infections in athletes due to a lowering of the immune defenses with the consequent inability to continue training.
When an integration is needed
When the right vitamin intake is not reached through diet or exposure to the sun, doctors generally suggest taking a food supplement that provides the recommended requirement. “Knowing that it is very difficult to achieve the recommended daily requirement of vitamin D with a healthy diet – continues Reginster – scientific societies around the world recommend daily vitamin D supplementation in a large subset of the elderly population. A loading dose may also be recommended if vitamin D deficiency needs to be corrected quickly or if there are concomitant conditions that prevent its absorption from the intestine.
New technologies for a more practical administration
And if those who need a supplement have trouble swallowing? Since we are often dealing with the elderly or even newborns, it could happen just as it is inconvenient for sportsmen to carry around tablets to be taken with water. With the practical needs of those who have to compensate for a vitamin deficiency with supplements in mind, a new technology applied to supplementation has been developed: it is called FilmTec® and is the result of a collaboration between Ibsa Farmaceutici and the University of Milan born with the aim of creating an innovative oral formulation capable of overcoming the traditional limitations of capsules and tablets.
A ‘stamp’ that melts in your mouth
Consisting of a flexible and ultra-thin sheet the size of a postage stamp (50-150 microns thick), the new formulation has the advantage of rapidly dissolving in contact with saliva, ensuring a precise and uniform concentration of the active ingredients and at the same time facilitating the taking supplements under any circumstances and under different conditions. Orodispersible film supplements can be taken in a simple, fast and practical way, without the need for water, while ensuring excellent absorption of the ingredients they contain. FilmTec® technology is today at the basis of the development of four different supplements in orodispersible films: vitamin D3, vitamin B, vitamin B12 and melatonin. “The rapid dissolution in contact with saliva, the pleasant taste, the ease of administration without the use of water, the precision in the dosage, are just some of the advantages that the FilmTec® technology offers”, he explains Tiziano Fossati, Head of Research & Development of Ibsa Institut Biochimique SA. “We have already explored some of its applications, but we are convinced that the FilmTec® platform will offer many other development opportunities for a technology that is ever closer to the needs of the final consumer”.
The international conference
New technologies for the administration of supplements were discussed during the international conference held today in Rome which saw the participation of authoritative experts such as Francesco Riva, membro del CNEL e Coordinatore del Working Group “Sport, Nutrition and Wellness” CNEL (IT), Silvia Migliaccio, Associate Professor at the Foro Italico University and President of the Society? Italian of Food Science (IT), Tiziano Fossati, Head of Research & Development at IBSA Institute of Biochemistry SA (CH), Philip CalderProfessor of Nutritional Immunology, University of Southampton School of Medicine (UK), Jean-Yves Reginster, Department of Epidemiology, Public Health and Health Economics, Director of the WHO Center for the Epidemiology of Musculoskeletal Health and Aging at the University of Liège in Belgium, Daniel Owens della Liverpool John Moores University, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Science (UK).