The Council for Responsible Nutrition-International (CRN-I), the worldwide arm of CRN, recently published its conference report “Advancing Nutrition Science to Meet Evolving Global Health Needs” in the European Journal of Nutrition. The report summarized its annual Scientific Symposium held in Düsseldorf, Germany.
The symposium featured experts from around the world who offered insights on policy recommendations to address the growing gaps in nutrition, which encompass many diverse populations, including vulnerable groups, such as preschool children and women of reproductive age.
“One especially interesting topic was shared by Dr. Lynnette Neufeld of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). She described the compelling problem of micronutrient malnutrition. She cited research that suggests 56% of preschool-aged children and 69% of women of reproductive age are deficient in one or more essential micronutrients. She also discussed populations where there is adequate or excess macronutrient intake and simultaneous micronutrient malnutrition,” observed Luke Huber, ND, co-author and Vice President, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, CRN.
The meeting focused on three key nutrient categories that CRN asserts have the potential to make a difference globally:
An essential nutrient for early life development, choline intake during pregnancy boosts brain development and inadequate dietary choline intake is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects, making it a critical nutrient for expectant mothers and early childhood.
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide
According to the report, NAD replenishment plays a role in preventing neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Dietary modifications and nutritional supplementation were identified as potential strategies to reduce the risk of these debilitating conditions.
Xanthophyll carotenoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin, are natural lipid-soluble micronutrients that have potent biological activities that may provide protection against vision and age-related conditions.
Brain health in focus
Huber told NutraIngredients-USA that the symposium included aspects of nutrition that are important for neurological health, in particular, choline, xanthophyll carotenoids, and NAD-replenishing nutrients.
“Maternal choline intake from foods and/or supplements is vital for fetal and infant development to prevent neural tube defects. Xanthophyll carotenoids (XC) support vision, especially the prevention of macular degeneration. Emerging research suggests XC may also have a preventive role in dementia and other age-related diseases. Developing research suggests NAD-replenishing nutrients, such as nicotinic acid, niacinamide, and nicotinamide riboside, may play a preventive role in neurodegenerative diseases,” Huber said.
Precision nutrition, gut health highlighted
The forum also highlighted the importance of precision nutrition, including factors like age, gender, environment, genetics and the gut microbiome. Gut health and understanding the role of the microbiome in nutrient metabolism and its impact on individual health was also emphasized.
“Dr. Emily Ho of Linus Pauling Institute and College of Health (Oregon State University) provided a forward-looking presentation on the importance of optimal health and the role of nutrition. She described the developing area of precision and personalized nutrition which considers genotypes, metabotypes, and the microbiome, potentially enabling nutrition guidelines to become more individualized in the future,” noted Huber.
Additionally, the importance of improving data collection and analysis were discussed as well as a need for better biomarkers for essential nutrients. Identifying markers of biological versus chronological age and functional biomarkers of “healthspan” were identified as areas of significant interest.
“The body of evidence presented by experts at the 2023 CRN-I Symposium on these nutrient categories warrants an examination of setting nutrient reference values both globally and in specific countries,” said James C. Griffiths, PhD, co-author and senior vice president, international and scientific affairs, CRN.