Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tufts nutrition scientists say it is premature to focus on nutrient supplements over diet

20.07.2005


Authors urge caution in JAMA article: High dose nutrient supplementation may have more adverse consequences than anticipated



In a special communication piece that appears in the July 20th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Alice Lichtenstein, DSc, senior scientist and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and the Center’s director and senior scientist, Robert Russell, MD, report that the most promising data on nutrition and optimal health outcomes relate to dietary patterns, not nutrient supplements. They further state that there are insufficient data to justify altering public health policy from an emphasis on foods and dietary patterns to one on supplements.

The authors emphasize that nutrient supplementation, particularly for certain at-risk populations, has an important place in health care. However, they point out that there is an important difference between observing associations between particular nutrients and health outcomes and detecting causal connections.


"Perhaps no better example exists than the disheartening results of the vitamin E intervention trials for the prevention of cardiovascular disease," says Russell. Lichtenstein explains that although observational studies suggest positive effects, "we lack supporting evidence from intervention trials, and that is critical for making recommendations to the public."

Data are insufficient in other areas as well, according to Lichtenstein. "Disease-nutrient relationships are by their nature very complex. Within the context of high dose nutrient supplementation, outcomes are frequently unexpected. Not only have some studies failed to yield positive results but, occasionally unanticipated negative effects have been observed."

The authors point out that some of the unanticipated findings from high dose single or nutrient cocktails may be because the levels used are much higher than those necessary to prevent deficiency disease. In one study, adding a nutrient antioxidant cocktail to a well established cholesterol-lowering drug treatment actually lessened the beneficial effect. "We still have a lot to learn about the use of high doses of nutrients. The important point is to prevent the cart from getting in front of the horse; we need to validate the science before there is wide scale adoption by the general public as we saw with vitamin E. We can no longer automatically assume there will be no adverse consequences," notes Lichtenstein.

In their overview of the existing literature, Lichtenstein and Russell, both professors at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and School of Medicine note that their caution is "based on the lack of a complete understanding of nutrient requirements and interactions, and disappointing results of intervention studies with single nutrients or nutrient cocktails."

"The identification, isolation, and purification of nutrients in the early 20th century raised the possibility that optimal health outcomes could be realized through nutrient supplementation," write the authors, but this advance has been "a double-edged sword."

While the current expert opinion is that there is not enough evidence to justify emphasizing nutrient supplements instead of food and diet for maintaining good health, this topic remains under rigorous research, and new data is published regularly. Based on the available information, the authors say, "eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and fish."

Siobhan Gallagher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>