Editor's Correspondence
Mar 12, 2012

Dietary Supplements and Altered Mortality: A Conflict of Evolutionary Medicine

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Environmental & Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia.

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(5):448-449. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.1861

The findings of Mursu et al1 are welcome and support what many nutritional scientists believe, that too little or excess micronutrient intake is detrimental to health. Nutritional wisdom is contemporaneous. During the first half of the 20th century we were concerned with undernutrition and defining deficiency syndromes. From the mid-1970s, this focus shifted to overnutrition and chronic degenerative disorders. Today we seem to be facing up to the excesses of recent years where, for example, supraphysiologic intake of beta carotene can promote certain cancers while an ever increasing number of adverse findings are being linked to mandatory folic acid intake.2 To quote Francis Crick (with slight modification), “Almost all aspects of life are engineered at the molecular level, and without understanding molecules, and their interactions, we can only have a very sketchy understanding of life itself.”3 With this in mind, we raise the following possible explanations for the findings of Mursu et al.1

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