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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;57 Suppl 1:S76-8.

Fortification, supplementation, and nutrient balance.

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Center for Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Efforts to combat nutrient deficiencies have centered on supplemental nutrient administration and addition of selected nutrients to the food chain in the form of food fortification. Over the past several decades, and as the association between diet and chronic diseases became apparent, supplementation and fortification were also targeted at healthy individuals, with the aim of reducing their risk of future diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. While supplementation strategies are playing a major role in reducing micronutrient deficiencies around the world, there is less compelling evidence for their role in reducing risk of chronic diseases in healthy individuals, perhaps with the exception of folic acid and reduction of neural tube defects. Nevertheless, with our increasing understanding of the genetic heterogeneity of human nutrient requirements, it is likely that certain groups or populations may clearly benefit from higher intakes of certain nutrients. In addition to supplementation or fortification with specific nutrients, the consumption of certain dietary patterns (such as the Mediterranean diet) is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases.

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