Eur J Cancer Prev. 1997 Mar; 6 Suppl 1(): S37-42.
High-risk subjects for vitamin deficiency.
National Institute for Cancer Research, Genoa, Italy.
Chronic deficiency of various vitamins can influence the occurrence of some chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular pathology, cataract, arthritis, disorders of the nervous system and photosensitivity. Similarly, vitamin intake can influence various disorders in infants and elderly people, in burns and in subjects following unbalanced diets or undergoing strenuous physical exercise. Among vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C have received most attention, particularly in the prevention of oxidative damage from free radicals. It is supposed that each vitamin plays a different role in the pathogenesis of various diseases, depending on the type of damage relevant to a specific disease. Results from different studies are still far from conclusive and the effects on longevity are not well defined. In industrialized countries, vitamin deficiencies seem to be related only to specific and clearly identifiable groups in the population: therefore, at the moment, it seems more advisable to target vitamin supplementation at risk groups.