Is there more to a carrot than beta carotene? Is lycopene the best we get from tomatoes? Is vitamin C the only reason to eat an orange? And when we heap our plates with wild salmon, are we serving up something other than Omega3s?
Meta-analysis of several individual vitamin studies suggests that food may be more than just a sum of its nutrient parts.
In order to publish or perish, some people in the scientific research community used the funding-dependent pharmaceutical paradigm and designed nutrition studies around individual nutrients including beta carotene, lutein, calcium, lycopene, individual vitamin and minerals, along with other phytochemical nutrients, in order to look at their health benefits in the human body.
The less creative, and usually desperate, publish or perish research folks are now doing meta-analysis on those poorly designed studies, which if nothing else, provides frequently much-needed headline material for the lay press.
University of Minnesota professor of epidemiology, David R. Jacobs, PhD, argued in a piece in yesterday's NYT that nutrition researchers should focus on whole foods and the full-spectrum of nutrients rather than only on single nutrients.
Well, duh again!!
He also argued that we need to study the effects of whole foods and the full-spectrum of nutrients on disease prevention in the healthy population, not just on sick people. He stated in the interview, "Food and nutrient synergy, rather than the biological activity of just a few key nutrients, is the real reason that certain diets, like those consumed in parts of the Mediterranean and Japan, appear to lower the risks of heart disease and other health problems."
We can only hope that those folks who are overdosing on the latest nutrient craze like it might be the second anti-aging coming (think fish oil capsules) will take Dr. Jacobs' nutrient synergy concerns to heart and eat a balanced diet with a full-spectrum multiple along with their fish oil to guarantee the nutrients that are lost during today's food processing methods.