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Micronutrients in Health and Disease

2010 Edition, October 13, 2010

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Active, Most Current

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ISBN: 978-1-4398-2106-0
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2010 Edition, October 13, 2010
  • Published Date: October 13, 2010
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 384
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


The growing sentiments against the use of micronutrient supplements for improving human health, preventing disease, and improving treatment outcomes among most academic and practicing physicians, and many health professionals, have created confusion and uncertainties in the minds of many consumers and health professionals. These sentiments are primarily based on a few clinical trials in which supplementation with a single dietary antioxidant, primarily vitamin E and betacarotene, increased the levels of risk factors and/or incidence of the disease in high-risk populations, such as heavy tobacco smokers, patients with coronary artery disease, and cancer survivors. Without critically examining the experimental designs of the trial with respect to the selection of antioxidants, recommendations are being made not to take any micronutrient supplements for health benefits. Such recommendations are alarming from the public health point of view. The adverse health effects of a single antioxidant in high-risk populations were expected, because such populations have high internal oxidative environments in which the individual antioxidants are oxidized and then act as pro-oxidants.

A few clinical trials with vitamin E alone produced no adverse health effects in normal populations with low internal oxidative environments, whereas others revealed beneficial effects in highrisk populations. Unfortunately, these clinical trials never receive as much publicity as those with negative results. I and others have published several reviews in peer-reviewed journals challenging the current trends of using single antioxidants in high-risk populations for preventing the risk of disease or improving treatment. I have also proposed that multiple micronutrients, including standard dietary and endogenous antioxidants, may be more useful in prevention and management of disease than single antioxidants. These articles failed to have any significant impact on the design of clinical trials, and the inconsistent results on the effect of a single antioxidant continued to be published. The growing antimicronutrient views promoted by most academic and practicing physicians and science writers of the major news media have alarmed me enough to write this book.

Many books and conference proceedings on the value of individual micronutrients in health and disease are available. I myself have coedited 12 conference proceedings, primarily on nutrition and cancer. These books provide an adequate summary of the history, properties, functions, and value of individual micronutrients, including dietary and endogenous antioxidants, herbal antioxidants, and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables in human health and disease. These books provide both the positive and negative effects of antioxidants on human health and disease. None of the these books have critically analyzed the published data on antioxidants and health, and never questioned whether the experimental designs of the study on which the conclusions are based are scientifically valid, whether the results obtained from the use of a single antioxidant in high-risk populations can be extrapolated to the effect of the same antioxidant in a multiple antioxidant preparation for the same population, and whether they could be extrapolated to normal populations. Furthermore, a comprehensive micronutrient program that has a sound scientific rationale and evidence for improving health, preventing disease, and improving treatment outcomes was never proposed.

In this book, I propose the unified hypothesis that increased oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are primarily responsible for the initiation and progression of most chronic human diseases as well as accelerated aging. Additionally, I contend that the glutamate release that occurs in certain chronic human diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders also plays a role in the maintenance and progression of the disease. Antioxidants represent a group of compounds that are nontoxic in humans, neutralize free radicals, and reduce inflammation. They can also block the release and neurotoxicity of glutamate. Thus, they represent a good candidate to help maintain good health and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases and improve the efficacy of current treatment modalities. Based on the specific health conditions, I have developed a series of formulations of multiple micronutrients containing dietary and endogenous antioxidants. I have included only standard micronutrients that have been used by consumers for decades without reported toxicity. I have not included any herbs, herbal antioxidants, or antioxidants from fruits and vegetables in these formulations, because none of them produced any unique effect that can not be produced by standard antioxidants present in the formulation. The rationale for these formulations is discussed with respect to each specific health or disease condition.

In this book, I also propose a clinical study design for each disease that can be used to test the efficacy of these micronutrient formulations in healthy aging and prevention and improved treatment of certain common human diseases. Those who are taking daily supplements will be comforted by the information provided in this book, those who are on the sidelines may decide to take a micronutrient supplement daily, and some who are currently opposed to recommending micronutrient supplements will find this book challenging and may decide to test the proposed idea clinically or continue to believe that micronutrient supplements may be harmful. In the latter case, they should provide scientific reasons for their recommendations.

I hope this book will arouse enough passion for and against taking multiple micronutrient supplements to lead to comprehensive, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical studies in high-risk and normal populations. Only then can we make a conclusive recommendation whether or not micronutrient supplements are useful for human health and disease. Meanwhile, I recommend that individuals continue to take appropriately prepared multiple micronutrients in consultation with their physicians and health professionals for healthy aging, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and improved current treatment outcomes.

I hope that this book will serve as a reference book for graduate students in nutrition, instructors teaching courses in nutrition and health, researchers involved in prevention and improving treatments of diseases using micronutrients, primary care and academic physicians interested in complimentary medicine, and health professionals in complimentary medicine and the nutrition industry.