Micronutrients influence multiple metabolic pathways including oxidative and inflammatory processes. Optimum micronutrient supply is important for the maintenance of homeostasis in metabolism and, ultimately, for maintaining good health. With advances in systems biology and genomics technologies, it is becoming feasible to assess the activity of single and multiple micronutrients in their complete biological context. Existing research collects fragments of information, which are not stored systematically and are thus not optimally disseminated. The Micronutrient Genomics Project (MGP) was established as a community-driven project to facilitate the development of systematic capture, storage, management, analyses, and dissemination of data and knowledge generated by biological studies focused on micronutrient–genome interactions. Specifically, the MGP creates a public portal and open-source bioinformatics toolbox for all “omics” information and evaluation of micronutrient and health studies. The core of the project focuses on access to, and visualization of, genetic/genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic information related to micronutrients. For each micronutrient, an expert group is or will be established combining the various relevant areas (including genetics, nutrition, biochemistry, and epidemiology). Each expert group will (1) collect all available knowledge, (2) collaborate with bioinformatics teams towards constructing the pathways and biological networks, and (3) publish their findings on a regular basis. The project is coordinated in a transparent manner, regular meetings are organized and dissemination is arranged through tools, a toolbox web portal, a communications website and dedicated publications.
Micronutrient; Bioinformatics; Database; Genomics
Recent advances in molecular biology combined with the wealth of information generated by the Human Genome Project have fostered the emergence of nutrigenomics, a new discipline in the field of nutritional research. Nutrigenomics may provide the strategies for the development of safe and effective dietary interventions against the obesity epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, more than 60% of the global disease burden will be attributed to chronic disorders associated with obesity by 2020. Meanwhile in the US, the prevalence of obesity has doubled in adults and tripled in children during the past three decades. In this regard, a number of natural dietary supplements and micronutrients have been studied for their potential in weight management. Among these supplements, (–)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA), a natural extract isolated from the dried fruit rind of Garcinia cambogia, and the micronutrient niacin-bound chromium(III) (NBC) have been shown to be safe and efficacious for weight loss. Utilizing cDNA microarrays, we demonstrated for the first time that HCA-supplementation altered the expression of genes involved in lipolytic and adipogenic pathways in adipocytes from obese women and up-regulated the expression of serotonin receptor gene in the abdominal fat of rats. Similarly, we showed that NBC-supplementation up-regulated the expression of myogenic genes while suppressed the expression of genes that are highly expressed in brown adipose tissue in diabetic obese mice. The potential biological mechanisms underlying the observed beneficial effects of these supplements as elucidated by the state-of-the-art nutrigenomic technologies will be systematically discussed in this review.
Insulin resistance; glucose tolerance factor; supplemental chromium; Garcinia cambogia; (-)-hydroxycitric acid; overweight; obesity; diabetes; cardiovascular disease; nutritional interventions; microarrays; nutrigenomics.
Epidemiological studies reveal strong association between micronutrient deficiencies and development of cancer. Since chromosome breaks and abnormal chromosome segregation, identified as micronuclei (MN), are central to malignant transformation, the influence of micronutrient status upon MN frequency has been the subject of intense research. Motivating this effort is the idea that marginal micronutrient deficiencies lead to allocation of scarce cellular resources towards immediate survival at the expense of maintaining genomic integrity, placing the individual at greater risk for degenerative diseases and cancer in old age. The challenge in identifying an association between individual micronutrients and MN frequency stems from the complexity of human diet, simultaneous presence of multiple micronutrient deficiencies, variable genetic susceptibility and methodological difficulties. A unique model for studying MN in humans is provided by a group of haematological diseases, the chronic haemolytic anaemias associated with high reticulocyte count and absence of splenic function. These disorders may prove valuable for assessing the influence of micronutrient status once the effect of abnormal erythropoiesis on MN formation is adequately understood. Eventually, large population-based studies that can account for the baseline variability in MN frequency, lifestyle and genetic factors may be needed to uncover the DNA-damaging effect of poor diet. Understanding the link between micronutrient status and MN frequency will contribute towards determining optimal micronutrient intake to preserve long-term health.
Inadequate and inappropriate complementary feeding are major factors contributing to excess morbidity and mortality in young children in low resource settings. Animal source foods in particular are cited as essential to achieve micronutrient requirements. The efficacy of the recommendation for regular meat consumption, however, has not been systematically evaluated.
A cluster randomized efficacy trial was designed to test the hypothesis that 12 months of daily intake of beef added as a complementary food would result in greater linear growth velocity than a micronutrient fortified equi-caloric rice-soy cereal supplement. The study is being conducted in 4 sites of the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research located in Guatemala, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia in communities with toddler stunting rates of at least 20%. Five clusters per country were randomized to each of the food arms, with 30 infants in each cluster. The daily meat or cereal supplement was delivered to the home by community coordinators, starting when the infants were 6 months of age and continuing through 18 months. All participating mothers received nutrition education messages to enhance complementary feeding practices delivered by study coordinators and through posters at the local health center. Outcome measures, obtained at 6, 9, 12, and 18 months by a separate assessment team, included anthropometry; dietary variety and diversity scores; biomarkers of iron, zinc and Vitamin B12 status (18 months); neurocognitive development (12 and 18 months); and incidence of infectious morbidity throughout the trial. The trial was supervised by a trial steering committee, and an independent data monitoring committee provided oversight for the safety and conduct of the trial.
Findings from this trial will test the efficacy of daily intake of meat commencing at age 6 months and, if beneficial, will provide a strong rationale for global efforts to enhance local supplies of meat as a complementary food for young children.
Given the widespread prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries, supplementation with multiple micronutrients rather than iron-folate alone, could be of potential benefit to the mother and the fetus. These benefits could relate to prevention of maternal complications and reduction in other adverse pregnancy outcomes such as small-for-gestational age (SGA) births, low birth weight, stillbirths, perinatal and neonatal mortality. This review evaluates the evidence of the impact of multiple micronutrient supplements during pregnancy, in comparison with standard iron-folate supplements, on specific maternal and pregnancy outcomes of relevance to the Lives Saved Tool (LiST).
Data sources/review methods
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials was conducted. Search engines used were PubMed, the Cochrane Library, the WHO regional databases and hand search of bibliographies. A standardized data abstraction and Child Health Epidemiology Reference (CHERG) adaptation of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) technique were used for data abstraction and overall quality of evidence. Meta-analyses were performed to calculate summary estimates of utility to the LiST model for the specified outcome of incidence of SGA births. We also evaluated the potential impact of multiple micronutrients on neonatal mortality according to the proportion of deliveries occurring in facilities (using a threshold of 60% to indicate functionality of health systems for skilled births).
We included 17 studies for detailed data abstraction. There was no significant benefit of multiple micronutrients as compared to iron folate on maternal anemia in third trimester [Relative risk (RR) = 1.03; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.87 – 1.22 (random model)]. Our analysis, however, showed a significant reduction in SGA by 9% [RR = 0.91; 95% CI: 0.86 – 0.96 (fixed model)]. In the fixed model, the SGA outcome remained significant only in women with mean body mass index (BMI) ≥ 22 kg/m2. There was an increased risk of neonatal mortality in studies with majority of births at home [RR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.13-1.92]; such an effect was not evident where ≥ 60% of births occurred in facility settings [RR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.81-1.09]. Overall there was no increase in the risk of neonatal mortality [RR = 1.05, 95% CI: 0.92 – 1.19 (fixed model)].
This review provides evidence of a significant benefit of MMN supplementation during pregnancy on reducing SGA births as compared to iron-folate, with no significant increase in the risk of neonatal mortality in populations where skilled birth care is available and majority of births take place in facilities. Given comparability of impacts on maternal anemia, the decision to replace iron-folate with multiple micronutrients during pregnancy may be taken in the context of available services in health systems and birth outcomes monitored.
Multiple micronutrient deficiencies are highly prevalent among preschool children and often lead to anemia and growth faltering. Given the limited success of supplementation and health education programs, fortification of foods could be a viable and sustainable option. We report results from a community based double-masked, randomized trial among children 1–4 years evaluating the effects of micronutrients (especially of zinc and iron) delivered through fortified milk on growth, anemia and iron status markers as part of a four group study design, running two studies simultaneously.
Methods and Findings
Enrolled children (n = 633) were randomly allocated to receive either micronutrients fortified milk (MN = 316) or control milk (Co = 317). Intervention of MN milk provided additional 7.8 mg zinc, 9.6 mg iron, 4.2 µg selenium, 0.27 mg copper, 156 µg vitamin A, 40.2 mg vitamin C, and 7.5 mg vitamin E per day (three serves) for one year. Anthropometry was recorded at baseline, mid- and end-study. Hematological parameters were estimated at baseline and end-study. Both groups were comparable at baseline. Compliance was over 85% and did not vary between groups. Compared to children consuming Co milk, children consuming MN milk showed significant improvement in weight gain (difference of mean: 0.21 kg/year; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.12 to 0.31, p<0.001) and height gain (difference of mean: 0.51 cm/year; 95% CI 0.27 to 0.75, p<0.001). Mean hemoglobin (Hb) (difference of 13.6 g/L; 95% CI 11.1 to 16.0, p<0.001) and serum ferritin levels (difference of 7.9 µg/L; 95% CI 5.4 to 10.5, p<0.001) also improved. Children in MN group had 88% (odds ratio = 0.12, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.20, p<0.001) lower risk of iron deficiency anemia.
Milk provides an acceptable and effective vehicle for delivery of specific micronutrients, especially zinc and iron. Micronutrient bundle improved growth and iron status and reduced anemia in children 1–4 years old.
Although serum measures of micronutrients are more specific than questionnaires in quantifying nutritional status, the reliability of serum measures depends on between- and within-person variability of circulating micronutrient levels. The extent to which multiple samples per person might improve reliability is useful information for planning studies and interpreting results.
We analyzed levels of 25 micronutrients in serum samples taken from 381 Hawaii women at 4-month intervals. For all subjects and for subjects at the low and high end of the micronutrient distributions, we calculated inter- and intraindividual variability, reliability coefficients, and the number of measurements required to limit attenuation in estimated parameters (ie, to keep estimates close to their true values).
For 18 of the 25 micronutrients, a single measurement provided an estimate within 20% of the true value. For regression coefficients, 2 measurements were needed to limit attenuation to no more than 20% for nearly half of the micronutrients. To achieve no more than 10% attenuation, the number of measurements required ranged from 2 to 10 for correlation and from 3 to 20 for regression coefficients. To achieve no more than 5% attenuation, the corresponding ranges were 3 to 21 for correlation and 6 to 42 regression coefficients. In general, more measurements were required for adequate characterization of subjects with relatively high levels of micronutrients than for subjects with lower levels.
Our analysis suggests that 2 or 3 blood measurements are enough to limit attenuation of regression coefficients within 20% of the true value for most carotenoids and tocopherols. For 10% attenuation or less, 4 or more micronutrient measurements may be needed.
Comprehensive investigation of nutritional health effects at the molecular level requires the understanding of the interplay between three genomes, the food, the gut microbial, and the human host genome. Food genomes are researched for discovery and exploitation of macro- and micronutrients as well as specific bioactives, with those genes coding for bioactive proteins and peptides being of central interest. The human gut microbiota encompasses a complex ecosystem in the intestine with profound impact on host metabolism. It is being studied at genomic and, more recently, also at proteomic and metabonomic level. Humans are being characterized at the level of genetic pre-disposition and inter-individual variability in terms of (i) response to nutritional interventions and direction of health trajectories; (ii) epigenetic, metabolic programming at certain life stages with health consequences later in life and even for subsequent generations; and (iii) acute genomic expression as a holistic response to diet, monitored at gene transcript, protein and metabolite level. Modern nutrition science explores health-related aspects of bioactive food components, thereby promoting health, preventing, or delaying the onset of disease, optimizing performance and assessing benefits and risks in individuals and subpopulations. Personalized nutrition means adapting food to individual needs, depending on the human host’s life stage, -style, and -situation. Traditionally, nutrigenomics and nutri(epi)genetics are seen as the key sciences to understand human variability in preferences and requirements for diet as well as responses to nutrition. This article puts the three nutrition and health-relevant genomes into perspective, namely the food, the gut microbial and the human host’s genome, and calls for an “extended nutrigenomics” approach in order to build the future tools for personalized nutrition, health maintenance, and disease prevention. We discuss examples of these genomes, proteomes, transcriptomes, and metabolomes under the definition of genomics as the overarching term covering essentially all Omics rather than the sole study of DNA and RNA.
nutrigenomics; nutrigenetics; epigenetics; personalized nutrition; biomarker; bioactive; gut microbiota
Biogeochemical elemental cycling is driven by primary production of biomass via phototrophic phytoplankton growth, with 40% of marine productivity being assigned to diatoms. Phytoplankton growth is widely limited by the availability of iron, an essential component of the photosynthetic apparatus. The oceanic diatom Thalassiosira oceanica shows a remarkable tolerance to low-iron conditions and was chosen as a model for deciphering the cellular response upon shortage of this essential micronutrient.
The combined efforts in genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics reveal an unexpected metabolic flexibility in response to iron availability for T. oceanica CCMP1005. The complex response comprises cellular retrenchment as well as remodeling of bioenergetic pathways, where the abundance of iron-rich photosynthetic proteins is lowered, whereas iron-rich mitochondrial proteins are preserved. As a consequence of iron deprivation, the photosynthetic machinery undergoes a remodeling to adjust the light energy utilization with the overall decrease in photosynthetic electron transfer complexes.
Beneficial adaptations to low-iron environments include strategies to lower the cellular iron requirements and to enhance iron uptake. A novel contribution enhancing iron economy of phototrophic growth is observed with the iron-regulated substitution of three metal-containing fructose-bisphosphate aldolases involved in metabolic conversion of carbohydrates for enzymes that do not contain metals. Further, our data identify candidate components of a high-affinity iron-uptake system, with several of the involved genes and domains originating from duplication events. A high genomic plasticity, as seen from the fraction of genes acquired through horizontal gene transfer, provides the platform for these complex adaptations to a low-iron world.
Every year more than 20 million infants are born with low birth weight worldwide. About 3.6 million infants die during the neonatal period. More than one third of child deaths are thought to be attributable to maternal and child under nutrition.
To systematically review the effect of supplementing various combinations and types of micronutrients on the course and outcomes of pregnancy.
Electronic search of Medline, Pub Med, Health Internetwork access to Research Initiative, and Google Scholar databases was conducted. Outcomes of interest were birth weight, low birth weight, small size for gestational age, prenatal mortality and neonatal mortality. After exclusion of irrelevant /incomplete ones, 17 out of 115 articles were considered for the final analysis.
Majority of the articles reviewed favored the supplementation of micronutrients to pregnant mother. Some studies suggested calcium supplementation is associated with a significant protective benefit in the prevention of pre-eclampsia. The remaining articles reviewed, showed significant benefit of Multiple Micronutrients supplementation during pregnancy in reducing low birth weight, small for Gestational Age births as compared to the usual iron-folate supplements.
Supplying micronutrients, mainly multiple micronutrients have beneficial effect in reducing the risk of low birth weight and other complications. Further studies at various combination and doses of micronutrient supplements are recommended.
There is growing evidence that micronutrient intake has a significant effect on the toxicity and carcinogenesis caused by various chemicals. This paper examines the effect of micronutrient status on the toxicity of four nonessential metals: cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic. Unfortunately, few studies have directly examined the effect of dietary deficiency or supplementation on metal toxicity. More commonly, the effect of dietary alteration must be deduced from the results of mechanistic studies. We have chosen to separate the effect of micronutrients on toxic metals into three classes: interaction between essential micronutrients and toxic metals during uptake, binding, and excretion; influence of micronutrients on the metabolism of toxic metals; and effect of micronutrients on secondary toxic effects of metals. Based on data from mechanistic studies, the ability of micronutrients to modulate the toxicity of metals is indisputable. Micronutrients interact with toxic metals at several points in the body: absorption and excretion of toxic metals; transport of metals in the body; binding to target proteins; metabolism and sequestration of toxic metals; and finally, in secondary mechanisms of toxicity such as oxidative stress. Therefore, people eating a diet deficient in micronutrients will be predisposed to toxicity from nonessential metals.
Many studies have suggested a relationship between metabolic abnormalities and impaired fetal growth with the development of non-transmissible chronic diseases in the adulthood. Moreover, it has been proposed that maternal factors such as endothelial function and oxidative stress are key mechanisms of both fetal metabolic alterations and subsequent development of non-transmissible chronic diseases. The objective of this project is to evaluate the effect of micronutrient supplementation and regular aerobic exercise on endothelium-dependent vasodilation maternal and stress oxidative of the newborn.
Methods and design
320 pregnant women attending to usual prenatal care in Cali, Colombia will be included in a factorial randomized controlled trial. Women will be assigned to the following intervention groups: 1. Control group: usual prenatal care (PC) and placebo (maltodextrine). 2. Exercise group: PC, placebo and aerobic physical exercise. 3. Micronutrients group: PC and a micronutrients capsule consisting of zinc (30 mg), selenium (70 μg), vitamin A (400 μg), alphatocopherol (30 mg), vitamin C (200 mg), and niacin (100 mg). 4. Combined interventions Group: PC, supplementation of micronutrients, and aerobic physical exercise. Anthropometric measures will be taken at the start and at the end of the interventions.
Since in previous studies has been showed that the maternal endothelial function and oxidative stress are related to oxidative stress of the newborn, this study proposes that complementation with micronutrients during pregnancy and/or regular physical exercise can be an early and innovative alternative to strengthen the prevention of chronic diseases in the population.
Lipophilic micronutrients (LM) constitute a large family of molecules including several vitamins (A, D, E, K) and carotenoids. Their ability to regulate gene expression is becoming increasingly clear and constitutes an important part of nutrigenomics. Interestingly, adipose tissue is not only a main storage site for these molecules within the body, but it is also subjected to the regulatory effects of LM. Indeed, several gene regulations have been described in adipose tissue that could strongly impact its biology with respect to the modulation of adipogenesis, inflammatory status, or energy homeostasis and metabolism, among others. The repercussions in terms of health effects of such regulations in the context of obesity and associated pathologies represent an exciting and emerging field of research. The present review will focus on the regulatory effects of vitamin A, D, E and K as well as carotenoids on adipose tissue biology and physiology, notably in the context of obesity and associated disorders.
adipose tissue; adipocytes; vitamins; micronutrients; obesity; insulin resistance; inflammation; metabolism; adipogenesis
Micronutrient deficiency is a common public health problem in developing countries, especially for infants and children in the first two years of life. As this is an important time window for child development, micronutrient fortified complementary feeding after 6 months of age, for example with milk or cereals products, in combination with continued breastfeeding, is recommended. The overall effect of this approach is unclear.
We performed a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis to assess the impact of micronutrient fortified milk and cereal food on the health of infants and little children (aged 6 months to 5 years) compared to non-fortified food. We reviewed randomized controlled trials using electronic databases (MEDLINE and Cochrane library searches through FEB 2011), reference list screening and hand searches. Three reviewers assessed 1153 studies for eligibility and extracted data. One reviewer assessed risk of bias using predefined forms.
We included 18 trials in our analysis (n = 5’468 children; range of mean hemoglobin values: 9.0 to 12.6 g/dl). Iron plus multi micronutrient fortification is more effective than single iron fortification for hematologic outcomes. Compared to non-fortified food, iron multi micronutrient fortification increases hemoglobin levels by 0.87 g/dl (95%-CI: 0.57 to 1.16; 8 studies) and reduces risk of anemia by 57% (relative risk 0.43; 95%-CI 0.26 to 0.71; absolute risk reduction 22%; number needed to treat 5 [95%-CI: 4 to 6]; 6 Studies). Compared to non-fortified food, fortification increases serum levels of vitamin A but not of zinc. Information about functional health outcomes (e.g. weight gain) and morbidity was scarce and evidence is inconclusive. Risk of bias is unclear due to underreporting, but high quality studies lead to similar results in a sensitivity analysis.
Multi micronutrient fortified milk and cereal products can be an effective option to reduce anemia of children up to three years of age in developing countries. On the basis of our data the evidence for functional health outcomes is still inconclusive.
Micronutrients; Fortification; Milk; Cereals
Several micronutrients are essential for adequate growth of children. However, little information is available on multiple micronutrient status of school children in Ethiopia. The present study was designed to evaluate the relationship between multiple micronutrient levels and nutritional status among school children.
In this cross-sectional study, anthropometric data, blood and stool samples were collected from 100 children at Meseret Elementary School in Gondar town, Northwest Ethiopia. Serum concentration of magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and molybdenum were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. Anthropometric indices of weight-for-age, height-for-age and BMI-for-age were used to estimate the children's nutritional status. Stool samples were examined by standard microscopic methods for intestinal parasites.
The prevalence of stunting, underweight, wasting and intestinal parasitoses among school children was 23%, 21%, 11% and18%, respectively. The mean serum levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and molybdenum were 2.42±0.32 (mg/dl), 15.31±2.14 (mg/dl), 328.19±148.91 (μg/dl), 191.30±50.17 (μg/dl), 86.40±42.40 (μg/dl), 6.32±2.59 (μg/dl), and 0.23±0.15 (μg/dl), respectively. Selenium deficiency, zinc deficiency and magnesium deficiency occurred in 62%, 47%, and 2% of the school children, respectively. Height-for-age showed significant positive correlation with the levels of copper and molybdenum (p = 0.01) and with the levels of magnesium (p = 0.05).
Deficiencies of selenium and zinc were high among the school children although the deficiencies were not significantly related with their nutritional status. The prevalence of both malnutrition and intestinal parasitism was not negligible. These calls for the need to undertake multicentre studies in various parts of the country to substantiate the data obtained in the present study so that appropriate and beneficial strategies for micronutrient supplementation and interventions on nutritional deficiencies can be planned.
School children; Nutritional status; Micronutrients; Gondar; Ethiopia
The benefits of zinc or multiple micronutrient supplementations in African children are uncertain. African children may differ from other populations of children in developing countries because of differences in the prevalence of zinc deficiency, low birth weight and preterm delivery, recurrent or chronic infections such as HIV, or the quality of complementary diets and genetic polymorphisms affecting iron metabolism.
The aim of this study was to ascertain whether adding zinc or multiple micronutrients to vitamin A supplementation improves longitudinal growth or reduces prevalence of anemia in children aged 6-24 months.
Randomized, controlled double-blinded trial of prophylactic micronutrient supplementation to children aged 6-24 months. Children in three cohorts - 32 HIV-infected children, 154 HIV-uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers, and 187 uninfected children born to HIV-uninfected mothers - were separately randomly assigned to receive daily vitamin A (VA) [n = 124], vitamin A plus zinc (VAZ) [n = 123], or multiple micronutrients that included vitamin A and zinc (MM) [n = 126].
Among all children there were no significant differences between intervention arms in length-for-age Z scores (LAZ) changes over 18 months. Among stunted children (LAZ below -2) [n = 62], those receiving MM had a 0.7 Z-score improvement in LAZ versus declines of 0.3 in VAZ and 0.2 in VA (P = 0.029 when comparing effects of treatment over time). In the 154 HIV-uninfected children, MM ameliorated the effect of repeated diarrhea on growth. Among those experiencing more than six episodes, those receiving MM had no decline in LAZ compared to 0.5 and 0.6 Z-score declines in children receiving VAZ and VA respectively (P = 0.06 for treatment by time interaction). After 12 months, there was 24% reduction in proportion of children with anemia (hemoglobin below 11 g/dL) in MM arm (P = 0.001), 11% in VAZ (P = 0.131) and 18% in VA (P = 0.019). Although the within arm changes were significant; the between-group differences were not significant.
Daily multiple micronutrient supplementation combined with vitamin A was beneficial in improving growth among children with stunting, compared to vitamin A alone or to vitamin A plus zinc. Effects on anemia require further study.
This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number .NCT00156832.
I review three of our research efforts which suggest that optimizing micronutrient intake will in turn optimize metabolism, resulting in decreased DNA damage and less cancer as well as other degenerative diseases of aging. (1) Research on delay of the mitochondrial decay of aging, including release of mutagenic oxidants, by supplementing rats with lipoic acid and acetyl carnitine. (2) The triage theory, which posits that modest micronutrient deficiencies (common in much of the population) accelerate molecular aging, including DNA damage, mitochondrial decay, and supportive evidence for the theory, including an in-depth analysis of vitamin K that suggests the importance of achieving optimal micronutrient intake for longevity. (3) The finding that decreased enzyme binding constants (increased Km) for coenzymes (or substrates) can result from protein deformation and loss of function due to an age-related decline in membrane fluidity, or to polymorphisms or mutation. The loss of enzyme function can be compensated by a high dietary intake of any of the B vitamins, which increases the level of the vitamin-derived coenzyme. This dietary remediation illustrates the importance of understanding the effects of age and polymorphisms on optimal micronutrient requirements. Optimizing micronutrient intake could have a major effect on the prevention of cancer and other degenerative diseases of aging.
Maternal caregiving capacity, which is affected in part by cognition and mood, is crucial for the health of mothers and infants. Few interventions aim to improve maternal and infant health through improving such capacity. Multiple micronutrient (MMN) supplementation may improve maternal cognition and mood, since micronutrients are essential for brain function. We assessed mothers who participated in the Supplementation with Multiple Micronutrients Intervention Trial (SUMMIT), a double-blind cluster-randomized trial in Indonesia comparing MMN supplementation to iron and folic acid (IFA) during pregnancy and until three months postpartum. We adapted a set of well-studied tests of cognition, motor dexterity, and mood to the local context and administered them to a random sample of 640 SUMMIT participants after an average of 25 weeks (SD = 9) of supplementation. Analysis was by intention to treat. Controlling for maternal age, education, and socio-economic status, MMN resulted in a benefit of 0.12 SD on overall cognition, compared to IFA (95%CI 0.03–0.22, p = .010), and a benefit of 0.18 SD on reading efficiency (95%CI 0.02–0.35, p = .031). Both effects were found particularly in anemic (hemoglobin<110 g/L; overall cognition: B = 0.20, 0.00–0.41, p = .055; reading: B = 0.40, 0.02–0.77, p = .039) and undernourished (mid-upper arm circumference<23.5 cm; overall cognition: B = 0.33, 0.07–0.59, p = .020; reading: B = 0.65, 0.19–1.12, p = .007) mothers. The benefit of MMN on overall cognition was equivalent to the benefit of one year of education for all mothers, to two years of education for anemic mothers, and to three years of education for undernourished mothers. No effects were found on maternal motor dexterity or mood. This is the first study demonstrating an improvement in maternal cognition with MMN supplementation. This improvement may increase the quality of care mothers provide for their infants, potentially partly mediating effects of maternal MMN supplementation on infant health and survival. The study is registered as an International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN34151616. http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN34151616
Micronutrients play a central part in metabolism and in the maintenance of tissue function. An adequate intake therefore is necessary, but provision of excess supplements to people who do not need them may be harmful. Single micronutrient deficiency states are comparatively easily recognised and treated. Subclinical deficiency, often of multiple micronutrients, is more difficult to recognise, and laboratory assessment is often complicated by the acute phase response. Clinical benefit is most likely in those people who are severely depleted and at risk of complications, and is unlikely if this is not the case. There is little evidence for supplements leading to a reduction in the incidence of infections in the elderly population, in coronary artery disease, or in malignant disease. The best evidence for benefit is in critical illness, and in children in developing countries consuming a deficient diet. More clinical trials are required with good clinical outcomes to optimise intake in prevention and treatment of disease.
There is no doubt that micronutrient deficiency is common in our environment. Replacements have thus been instituted without adequate information on specific and peculiar micronutrient needs of our people. Zinc is an essential micronutrient which is prone to maternal depletion during pregnancy and lactation. Unfortunately, studies in that regard in Nigeria has received diminutive interest.
To determine zinc concentration during pregnancy and lactation.
This is a cohort study involving one hundred and twenty (120) pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic of one tertiary and two secondary health care institutions in Enugu. Thirty-five (35) apparently healthy, non pregnant women were used as control subjects. Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) was used to determine the zinc levels in the serum of the mothers during pregnancy, postpartum and in the breast milk.
Results showed that mean serum zinc levels were significantly decreased (P <0.0001) in pregnancy when compared with non-pregnant control subjects. The levels decreased as gestation progressed, with the lowest concentration of serum zinc obtained during the third trimester. It was also observed that serum zinc levels which decreased in pregnancy, increased non- significantly (P =0.12) in mothers postpartum. In the breast milk, zinc concentration decreased significantly (P <0.0001) as lactation progressed with the highest content evident in colostrum.
The observed significant decreases in the levels of zinc during pregnancy and in breast milk places the mothers and their neonates at risk and thus, necessitate maternal supplementation. Dietary interventions such as food diversification and biofortification are recommended to improve dietary zinc intakes in pregnant and lactating mothers, and infants in this region.
Zinc; pregnancy; lactation: Enugu: Nigeria
Even though several epidemiological studies have observed positive associations between blood lead levels and homocysteine, no study has examined whether this association differs by the levels of micronutrients, such as folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, which are involved in the metabolism of homocysteine. In this study, we examined the interactions between micronutrients and blood lead on homocysteine levels.
This study was performed with 4089 adults aged ≥20 years old in the US general population using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004.
There were significant or marginally significant interactions between micronutrients and blood lead levels on mean homocysteine levels. Positive associations between blood lead and homocysteine were clearly observed among subjects with low levels of folate or low vitamin B6 (p-trend <0.01, respectively). However, in the case of vitamin B12, there was a stronger positive association between blood lead and homocysteine among subjects with high levels of vitamin B12, compared to those with low levels of vitamin B12. In fact, the levels of homocysteine were already high among subjects low in vitamin B12, irrespective of blood lead levels. When we used hyperhomocysteinemia (homocysteine>15 µmol/L) as the outcome, there were similar patterns of interaction, though p-values for each interaction failed to reach statistical significance.
In the current study, the association between blood lead and homocysteine differed based on the levels of folate, vitamin B6, or vitamin B12 present in the blood. It may be important to keep sufficient levels of these micronutrients to prevent the possible harmful effects of lead exposure on homocysteine levels.
Homocysteine; Lead; Folic acid; Vitamin B6; Vitamin B12
More than two billion people worldwide are deficient in key micronutrients. Single micronutrients have been used at high doses to prevent and treat dietary insufficiencies. Yet the impact of combinations of micronutrients in small doses aiming to improve lipid disorders and the corresponding metabolic pathways remains incompletely understood. Thus, we investigated whether a combination of micronutrients would reduce fat accumulation and atherosclerosis in mice.
Methods and results
Lipoprotein receptor-null mice fed with an original combination of micronutrients incorporated into the daily chow showed reduced weight gain, body fat, plasma triglycerides, and increased oxygen consumption. These effects were achieved through enhanced lipid utilization and reduced lipid accumulation in metabolic organs and were mediated, in part, by the nuclear receptor PPARα. Moreover, the micronutrients partially prevented atherogenesis when administered early in life to apolipoprotein E-null mice. When the micronutrient treatment was started before conception, the anti-atherosclerotic effect was stronger in the progeny. This finding correlated with decreased post-prandial triglyceridaemia and vascular inflammation, two major atherogenic factors.
Our data indicate beneficial effects of a combination of micronutritients on body weight gain, hypertriglyceridaemia, liver steatosis, and atherosclerosis in mice, and thus our findings suggest a novel cost-effective combinatorial micronutrient-based strategy worthy of being tested in humans.
Atherosclerosis; Lipids; PPARα; Nutrition; Prevention
Selenium (Se) is an important micronutrient that, as a component of selenoproteins, influences oxidative and inflammatory processes. Its’ levels vary considerably, with different ethnic and geographic population groups showing varied conditions, ranging from frank Se deficiencies to toxic effects. An optimum Se level is essential for the maintenance of homeostasis, and this optimum may vary according to life stage, general state of health, and genotype. Nutrigenetic studies of different Se levels, in the presence of genetic variants in selenoproteins, suggest that an effective dietary Se intake for one individual may be very different from that for others. However, we are just starting to learn the significance of various genes in selenoprotein pathways, functional variants in these, and how to combine such data from genes into pathways, alongside dietary intake or serum levels of Se. Advances in systems biology, genetics, and genomics technologies, including genetic/genomic, epigenetic/epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic information, start to make it feasible to assess a comprehensive spectrum of the biological activity of Se. Such nutrigenomic approaches may prove very sensitive biomarkers of optimal Se status at the individual or population level. The premature cessation of a major human Se intervention trial has led to considerable controversy as to the value of Se supplementation at the population level. New websites provide convenient links to current information on methodologies available for nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics. These new technologies will increasingly become an essential tool in optimizing the level of Se and other micronutrients for optimal health, in individuals and in population groups. However, definitive proof of such effects will require very large collaborative studies, international agreement on study design, and innovative approaches to data analysis.
selenium; selenoprotein; nutrigenetics; nutrigenomics
Recommendations for zinc intake during childhood vary widely across Europe. The EURRECA project attempts to consolidate the basis for the definition of micronutrient requirements, taking into account relationships among intake, status and health outcomes, in order to harmonise these recommendations. Data on zinc intake and biomarkers of zinc status reported in randomised controlled trials (RCTs) can provide estimates of dose-response relationships which may be used for underpinning zinc reference values. This systematic review included all RCTs of apparently healthy children aged 1–17 years published by February 2010 which provided data on zinc intake and biomarkers of zinc status. An intake-status regression coefficient () was calculated for each individual study and calculated the overall pooled and SE () using random effects meta-analysis on a double log scale. The pooled dose-response relationship between zinc intake and zinc status indicated that a doubling of the zinc intake increased the serum/plasma zinc status by 9%. This evidence can be utilised, together with currently used balance studies and repletion/depletion studies, when setting zinc recommendations as a basis for nutrition policies.
zinc; children; serum zinc; systematic review; dose-response; dietary recommendations; EURRECA
DNA damage at the base-sequence, epigenome and chromosome level is a fundamental cause of developmental and degenerative diseases. Multiple micronutrients and their interactions with the inherited and/or acquired genome determine DNA damage and genomic instability rates. The challenge is to identify for each individual the combination of micronutrients and their doses (i.e. the nutriome) that optimises genome stability and DNA repair. In this paper I describe and propose the use of high-throughput nutrient array systems with high content analysis diagnostics of DNA damage, cell death and cell growth for defining, on an individual basis, the optimal nutriome for DNA damage prevention and cancer growth control.