A report moderated by Dr Damien Downing
This document is the second in a series of position papers covering the areas of nutritional and environmental medicine. The first, Effective Allergy Practice, was published in 1996. The third, dealing with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in 2000.
The aim of each is to outline best practice in these areas and the scientific evidence for it. The extent of current knowledge and literature on nutrition is too vast for a single document. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to highlight major areas of clinical and public health importance where nutrition can have an impact.
Some basic principles are outlined, and several major categories of illness are addressed. Extensive references are provided in validation, so that the paper may serve as a source of further literature regarding the statements made.
The reasons for, and the context of, this document are described, including the white paper ‘Health of the Nation’.
The history and backgound of nutrition as therapy are outlined, and several fundamental principles are elucidated:
- Degrees of deficiency
- Free radicals and antioxidants
Strategies for primary prevention
Four main areas of proven importance to the development of such diseases are considered:
In each of these, the underlying theories are discussed, current controversies are addressed, and stategies for prevention and treatment are put forward.
Scientific consensus is that 40-60% of all cancers are related to diet. The major dietary factors identified so far are:
as promoters of cancer and antioxidant nutrients as inhibitors and retarders of cancer. Mechanisms of carcinogenesis and nutritional measures for both prevention and treatment are evaluated.
Several theoretical considerations are reviewed, then the subject is addressed under the following diagnostic headings:
- Anxiety: the links to diet and nutrition here are clear and strong, and the therapeutic potential great
- Depression: complex and heterogeneous, this category of mental illness does still respond to nutrition in a number of contexts
- Bipolar affective disorder
- Schizophrenia: as there are fewer data available on nutritional factors in these diagnoses, they are not covered in detail
Several theoretical considerations are reviewed, then the subject is addressed under the following headings:
- Nutrient-toxin interactions
Several other categories of health problems are considered in brief, for which less comprehensive data are available:
- Ageing and degenerative diseases
- Premenstrual syndrome
The Society’s hopes for the future are stated.