Cancer: Diet is estimated to contribute to about one-third of preventable cancers



ARE VITAMIN AND MINERAL DEFICIENCIES A MAJOR CANCER RISK?

Bruce N. Ames & Patricia Wakimoto

Nature Reviews Cancer 2, 694 -704 (2002)

Diet is estimated to contribute to about one-third of preventable cancers — about the same amount as smoking. Inadequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals might explain the epidemiological findings that people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables have an increased risk of developing cancer. Recent experimental evidence indicates that vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to DNA damage. Optimizing vitamin and mineral intake by encouraging dietary change, multivitamin and mineral supplements, and fortifying foods might therefore prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.

Bruce Ames has been one of the leading researchers in carcinogenesis for decades and is a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley and a senior scientist at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. Research interests in his lab include genetic toxicology, micronutrient deficiencies and DNA damage, and mitochondrial decay in ageing. He developed the test for detecting mutagens, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Among numerous other honors, he is the past recipient of the Japan Prize and the US National Medal of Science. His 460 scientific papers have resulted in him being one of the few hundred most-cited scientists.

He has also shown that vitamin therapies can help over 50 genetic diseases. See:

High-dose vitamin therapy stimulates variant enzymes with decreased coenzyme binding affinity (increased Km): relevance to genetic disease and polymorphisms1–3.

Bruce N Ames, Ilan Elson-Schwab, and Eli A Silver

Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:616–58.

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