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Infectious Diseases

Micronutrients and infectious diseases: thoughts on integration of mechanistic approaches into micronutrient research.

Taylor CE; Higgs ES
Journal of Infectious Diseases 2000 Sep;182 Suppl 1:S1-4

Results of field and laboratory studies provide convincing evidence that micronutrient deficiencies contribute to the mortality and morbidity of infectious diseases. Despite encouraging results in large trials, understanding the mechanisms by which micronutrients contribute to the outcome of the encounter between an individual and an infectious agent requires additional hypothesis-driven research. Presumably, such understanding should lead to translational studies with targeted nutritional therapy. Although these mechanistic studies are varied and complex, they must be done systematically and should include examination of the mechanisms by which micronutrients affect host-pathogen interactions, development of appropriate animal models and reliable methods for the assessment of micronutrient levels, and translation of the results of basic research findings into clinical studies. Moving the frontiers of micronutrient research from the laboratory to the field will be challenging. However, sound scientific research should lead toward better human health.

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