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Nutritional Research

The importance of nutrition for human health has long been recognized. Prior to 1960, interest in this field focused primarily on the etiology and prevention of acute nutrient deficiency diseases, such as scurvy, rickets, and pellagra. Some 50 essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, cofactors, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids) were identified, and recommended daily intakes for those essential nutrients were developed. These recommendations, in turn, proved valuable in eradicating acute nutrient deficiency diseases.

During the past 20 years, attention has shifted to the role of diet and nutrition in the pathogenesis of chronic degenerative diseases. Heart disease, some cancers, osteoporosis, type II diabetes, and macular degeneration are well-known examples of diseases with dietary risk factors, and research is currently underway on many more nutrient-disease interactions. Unfortunately, these associations are difficult to study, in part because of the time frames involved. Chronic degenerative diseases develop over decades (or lifetimes), and it is extremely difficult to conduct research programs spanning more than several years in length. Nevertheless, advances in epidemiological and clinical research have uncovered a great deal of information about the impact of diet and nutrient intakes on long-term health.

Disclaimer: The information provided is strictly educational and not intended as medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, consult your health care professional. This information may be copied and freely distributed only if all text remains intact and unchanged.


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