Copyright © 1996, 1997, 2001 by Galen Daryl Knight and VitaleTherapeutics, Inc.

Nutritional Considerations in Human and Animal Disease

Are nutritional observations in animals and animal tissues relevant to risks of human disease? A 1981 study of several human populations, primarily in Africa and Asia, indicated that diets deficient in zinc, magnesium, niacin, and possibly riboflavin (i.e., those derived primarily from corn and wheat products) coincide with increased risks of esophageal cancer, whereas those enriched in these nutrients (based upon millet, cassava, yams, or peanuts) are associated with a lowered risk for this cancer. Over-refining and over-processing of foods (see below) and eating malpractices and disorders (such as caloric restriction, bulimia, and anorexia) compound the already marginal nutritional problems associated with corn and wheat diets. Corn oil, cottonseed, and peanut oil also are more likely to be contaminated with carcinogenic aflatoxins. The suspicion that even sometimes gluttonous American diets can have marginal vitamin deficiencies is reinforced by the estimated marginal vitamin deficiencies (50-95%) in healthy subjects who were hospitalized and fed a computer-selected diet composed along guidelines set by the DFM system, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook 8, and manufacturers' nutrient label analysis for specialty foods. Estimated deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin D, folic acid, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium, and zinc were corrected with "commercial supplements" so that conclusions concerning the vitamin C metabolism being studied would be valid. Do you still think you are eating a balanced diet? Does anyone else go to these extremes to get good nutrition? Results from this commendably controlled study of vitamin C nutrition and problems with the conclusions drawn will be discussed elsewhere.

Also, in a study of 113 liver biopsies from different human patients, a monooxygenase proposed as the receptor for the vitaletheine modulators was found to be diminished in several disease categories, including viral hepatitis (21%), cholangitis (16%), diabetes and non-specific fatty changes (5.1%), alcoholic liver disease (23%), cirrhosis (46%), tumor (39%), and inflammatory reactions (36%). Monooxygenase was significantly different from normal only in those patients with cirrhosis (46%) in this small study, but it is interesting that individuals with tumors represented the next largest decrease (39%), followed closely by those individuals with inflammatory (immune) reactions (36%). Although changes of 10% or more often yield important clues for unraveling causes of disease, more research is needed to ensure that these changes in human monooxygenase activity actually contribute to the disease and are not merely a symptom of the disease.


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