Most people who live in developed nations like the United States assume they get plenty of the necessary vitamins and minerals as part of their normal diets, and that they do not need to take vitamin supplements. But a new study published online in the FASEB Journal suggests otherwise, explaining that even moderate nutrient deficiencies, which afflict many unwitting individuals, are responsible for causing age-related diseases including cancer and heart disease.
For the study, Dr. Joyce C. McCann, co-author from the Nutrition and Metabolism Center at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California, and her team evaluated certain nutrient-dependent proteins to see how the body managed related nutrient deficiencies. Upon conducting tests using selenium as an example, the team discovered that the human body is innately able to protect nutrient-dependent proteins as its first priority, while protecting all others secondly.
However, the team also observed that even moderate deficiencies, which end up affecting both non- and nutrient-dependent proteins, lead to mutations indicative of diseases like cancer, lowered immunity, loss of brain function, and heart disease. For this reason, they say it is necessary to supplement with extra vitamins and minerals in order to offset disease development.
“Understanding how best to define and measure optimum nutrition will make the application of new technologies to allow each person to optimize their own nutrition a much more realistic possibility than it is today,” said McCann. “If the principles of the theory, as demonstrated for vitamin K and selenium, can be generalized to other vitamins and minerals, this may provide the foundation needed.”
Though these results may seem obvious to many in the natural health community, they help solidify the need for vitamin and mineral supplements among the general population who, for years, has been fed conflicting ideas about supplements. Thanks to this new study, the average person is now reassured that taking high-quality multivitamins made from whole-food nutrients will be beneficial in maintaining health and preventing disease.
“This paper should settle any debate about the importance of taking a good, complete, multivitamin every day,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. “As this report shows, taking a multivitamin that contains selenium is a good way to prevent deficiencies that, over time, can cause harm in ways that we are just beginning to understand.”
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