Climate Change Impact On Nutritional Deficiencies in Food

Climate change and the elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 are among new threats.

Climate change and the elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 are among new threats humanity faces as it tries to provide people globally with quality food filled with important minerals and vitamins.

These problems could have a lasting impact on food crops and contribute to malnutrition around the world, latest research shows. Crops that are being grown in this new environment affected by climate change will have “significantly reduced concentrations” of dietary zinc and iron, according to the 2014 study by Harvard School of Public Health published in 2017 * . “Given that an estimated 2 billion people suffer from zinc and iron deficiencies, resulting in a loss of 63 million life years annually from malnutrition, the reduction in these nutrients represents the most significant health threat ever shown to be associated with climate change,” the study says.

“This study is the first to resolve the question of whether rising CO2 concentrations — which have been increasing steadily since the Industrial Revolution — threaten human nutrition,” said Samuel Myers, research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH and the study’s lead author.

Studies like this one show that the foods we eat today are not as rich in vitamins and minerals as they were in the past: industrialization, pollution and the resulting climate change are to blame.

But proper supplementation, among other things, may provide a clue to resolving this problem. “Nutritional supplementation for populations most affected” by deficiencies could “play a role in reducing the human health impacts of these changes,” said Myers.

Vitagene aims to contribute to solving the problem of nutrient deficiencies in food by educating people on how supplementation may impact their health and improve their quality of life. Different supplements added to people’s diet may accomplish these tasks in different ways.

Take zinc that is mentioned in the study, for example. Zinc is a mineral and co-factor for numerous enzymes that are involved in many biochemical pathways, including DNA and protein synthesis. Zinc is considered to be an “essential” nutrient that can be obtained through diet. As an antioxidant, zinc plays a role in cell protection, by helping shield cells from harmful free radicals that are thought to contribute to aging and other health problems. It also has anti-viral properties against some viruses (e.g. rhinovirus and herpes simplex virus). Zinc is especially necessary during pregnancy and childhood as it plays a significant role in growth and development. Prominent symptoms of zinc deficiency may include: loss of appetite, insufficient growth, hair loss, anemia and skin issues.

Although it is rare for people in industrialized countries to have severe zinc deficiency, there are still populations at risk for it. They including the elderly, people on restricted diets, and those with Crohn’s or celiac disease.

To recommend supplementation plans specific to you, Vitagene analyzes your DNA, diet, medications and medical history. Your plan breaks down the supplements you need and explains why. To make it easier to adhere to your plan, Vitagene partnered with trusted brands to deliver the highest quality supplements directly to your doorstep each month, conveniently packaged in daily dosages. As your lifestyle, medications, diet or health goals change, Vitagene will optimize your plan — ensuring you get precisely what you need and nothing you don’t.

To find out what your body needs and whether you may be at risk for any type of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, you can take our DNA test and receive your customized supplementation report.

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