Nutrition and supplements
The importance of nutrition for human health has long been known. Prior to 1960, interest in this field focused mainly on the prevention of acute nutrient deficiency diseases, such as scurvy, rickets, and pellagra. Some 50 essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, cofactors, essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids) were identified. Recommended daily intakes for those nutrients were also developed. The recommendations proved valuable in eliminating acute nutrient deficiency diseases.
During the past decades, focus has shifted to the role of diet and nutrition in long-term health. Nutrition has shown to play a role in the long-term health of heart, bones, joints, eyes, nervous system, and immune system.
Unfortunately, these associations are difficult to study, in part because of the timeframes involved. Many of these interactions take decades (or lifetimes) to study. It is very difficult to conduct research spanning more than several years in length. Despite this, advances in epidemiological and clinical research have uncovered a great deal of information about the impact of diet and nutrient intakes on long-term health.