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Nutrient Deficiency Diseases

Recent Research On Vitamins A And C

Research using 22,000 physicians under the supervision of the Department of Medicine at Harvard is studying the long-term effects of beta carotene (vitamin A) in lowering the incidence of cancer and boosting resistance to infection. It is also being studied in the treatment of AIDS. Beta carotene is a safer version of vitamin A than the preformed oil form called retinol. It is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, collards, turnip greens, kale, and many other vegetables that.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is used as a supplement by more people than any other supplement. Its popularity is due to the work of the two-time Nobel laureate, Linus Pauling who maintained that vitamin C was effective in preventing and lessening the effect of colds and in the treatment of cancer. Pauling's vitamin C program called for megadoses that far exceeded the government's RDA recommendations. Pauling recommended a daily dose of between 2,000 and 9,000 milligrams (mg). The National Research Council recommends 60 mg for adult daily and 100 mg for smokers.

The discovery of micro nutrition was made in the early twentieth century as a result of finding the cure for certain diseases, the nutrient deficiency diseases such as scurvy, beriberi, and pellagra. The new dimensions of fully understanding and using our knowledge of nutrients remain to be established from the ongoing research in this area of nutritional science.



Eschleman, Marian M. Nutrition & Diet Therapy. New York: Lippincott, 1991.

Guthrie, Helen A. Introductory Nutrition. Boston: Mosby College Publishing, 1989.

Hendler, Sheldon S. The Doctor's Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990.

Williams, Sue R. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Boston: Mosby College Publishing, 1989.

Yudkin, John. The Penguin Encyclopedia of Nutrition. New York: Viking, 1985.

Jordan P. Richman


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Amino acid

—An organic compound whose molecules contain both an amino group (-NH2) and a carboxyl group (-COOH). One of the building blocks of a protein.


—An essential macro mineral necessary for bone formation and other metabolic functions.

Controlled experiment

—Also called a controlled trial. The dividing into groups of experimental subjects to see what the effects of a drug will be when tested along with a dummy drug or placebo (a drug other than the one being tested).


—An inflammation of the skin. A symptom of vitamin deficiency.


—An abnormal collection of fluids in the body tissues. One of the forms of the disease beriberi called wet beriberi.

Essential nutrients

—Those nutrients that must be obtained from food for good health and to prevent nutrient deficiency diseases.


—A mineral necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.


—An essential B vitamin needed to prevent pellagra.

Night blindness

—Inability to see at night due to a vitamin A deficiency.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP) to Ockham's razorNutrient Deficiency Diseases - Early Vitamin Deficiency Diseases, Scurvy, Beriberi, Pellagra, Rickets, Other Vitamin Deficiency Diseases - Mineral deficiency diseases