By: DSM Nutritional Products
Many people worldwide do not consume enough micronutrients to receive the health benefits available. While increased vitamin intake to meet recommendations can support the health of the general population, scientific research indicates higher doses of vitamins can also be used in the pharmaceutical industry to address specific health issues.
Many people worldwide do not consume enough micronutrients to receive the health benefits available. Nutrition inadequacies and malnutrition are even more common in clinical conditions, for example, among vulnerable populations, such as elderly people, patients suffering from chronic conditions and patients recovering in hospitals1. This can lead to an increased risk of infection and, in turn, longer hospital stays. While increased vitamin intake to meet recommendations can support the health of the general population, scientific research indicates higher doses of vitamins can also be used in the pharmaceutical industry to address specific health issues.
There is a growing bank of scientific data showing the benefits of vitamins can go beyond the essentiality offered by recommended daily intakes. Recent papers demonstrate that specific benefits may be achieved in particular at-risk groups by taking high dose vitamins. Vitamin E has also been shown to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease2 and reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease3.
Other health issues where a higher intake of nutrients beyond recommended nutritional requirements have been shown to provide therapeutic benefits in specific groups include cancer4,5, multiple sclerosis6 and diabetes7.
Clinical data must be used in combination with a thorough understanding of drug-nutrient interactions to define the role of vitamins in the pharmaceutical industry. Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) is one method for analyzing the evidence supporting the use of specific vitamins in pharmaceutical applications, which can be used as a reference for pharmaceutical and healthcare professionals.
Understanding the role of vitamins beyond the nutritional range and their potential use in the pharmaceutical industry can lead to the creation of innovative products that will serve the interests of patient health worldwide.
For further information, read our whitepaper ‘Micronutrients for pharmaceutical applications’. Keep an eye out for our upcoming posts that will provide an in-depth view on emerging clinical evidence in this area.
23 August 2017
4 min read
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 M.J. Kaiser et al., ‘Frequency of malnutrition in older adults: a multinational perspective using the mini nutritional assessment’, J AM Geriatrics Soc, vol. 58, no. 9, 2010, p. 1734-8.
 M.W. Dysken et al., ‘Effect of vitamin E and memantine on functional decline in Alzheimer Disease’, JAMA, vol. 311, no. 1, 2014, p. 33-44.
 A. J. Sanyal et al., ‘Pioglitazone, vitamin E, or placebo for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis’, N Engl J Med, vol. 362, no. 18, 2010, p. 1675-85.
 S.J. Padayatty et al., ‘Vitamin C pharmacokinetics: implications for oral and intravenous use,’ Ann Intern Med, vol. 140, no. 7, 2004, p.533-7.
 H. Fritz et al., ‘Intravenous vitamin C and cancer: a systematic review,’ Integr Cancer Ther, vol. 13, no. 4, 2014, p. 280-300.
 A. Tourbah et al., ‘MD1003 (high-dose biotin) for the treatment of progressive multiple sclerosis: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study’, Mult Scler. 2016, 22(13): 1719–1731.
 R. Valdés-Ramos et al., ‘Vitamins and type 2 diabetes mellitus’, Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets, 2015;15(1):54-63.