Supplements in the News

Vitamin Deficiencies Hurt Nervous System
 
Published Thursday, June 1, 2006

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Vanderbilt University researchers reported a short period of combined vitamin E and C deficiency caused profound central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction in guinea pigs. In the trial, reported in the June issue of Journal of Nutrition (136:1576-81, 2006) , scientists studied CNS histopathology to define the nature and extent of the injuries caused by this double deficiency, including the spinal cord and parts of the brain.


Weanling guinea pigs were fed a diet either deficient or replete in vitamin E for 14 days; vitamin C was also withdrawn from the diet in some of the guinea pigs, forming four groups: vitamin E-replete, E-deficient, C-deficient and both E- and C-deficient. During the period from five to 11 days of double vitamin deficiency, nine of the 12 pigs developed paralysis, and two more died; the remaining double-deficient pig and those in the other three groups all survived until the end of the study, 13 to 15 days after diet initiation.


Upon serial sectioning of the pigs' brains and spinal cords, only the pigs in the doubly deficient group showed CNS damage, primarily nerve cell death, axonal degeneration, vascular injury and associated glial cell (non-neuronal brain cell) responses. Most severely affected were the ventral pons (section of the brainstem under the cerebellum) and the brainstem, which often exhibited asymmetric cystic lesions. According to researchers, several aspects of these lesions suggest that the primary damage occurred in the blood vessels. They concluded the results indicate paralysis and death in guinea pigs linked to a combined vitamin E and C deficiency is caused by severe damage to the brainstem and spinal cord.

These abstracts provided courtesy of Natural Products Industry Insider, published by Virgo Publishing Inc.

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