CRN-International Announces New Publication Identifying Global Nutrient Gaps

NOVEMBER 29, 2023

Three Crucial Nutrient Categories Highlighted for Potential to Meet Evolving Global Health Needs 

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition-International (CRN-I) is pleased to announce the publication of the conference report: “Advancing Nutrition Science to Meet Evolving Global Health Needs” in the European Journal of Nutrition summarizing the proceedings of its annual Scientific Symposium in Düsseldorf, Germany. The event earlier this year brought together experts from around the world to shed light on the critical issues surrounding global nutrition challenges and policy efforts.  

The symposium provided a comprehensive overview of health challenges and policy recommendations to address growing gaps in nutrition and obstacles to better health, emphasizing the importance of precision and personalized nutrition. According to the report, global challenges related to nutrition and health encompass many diverse populations, including vulnerable groups, such as preschool children and women of reproductive age.  

The meeting focused on three key nutrient categories that have the potential to make a difference globally: 

  • Choline is an essential nutrient for early life development. Choline intake during pregnancy boosts brain development and inadequate dietary choline intake is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects, making it a critical nutrient for expectant mothers and early childhood. 

  • NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) replenishment has a role in preventing neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Dietary modifications and nutritional supplementation were identified as potential strategies to reduce the risk of these debilitating conditions. 

  • Xanthophyll carotenoids, like lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin are natural lipid-soluble micronutrients that have potent biological activities that may protect against age-related diseases and vision-related conditions. 

"Developing science demonstrates that choline, NAD replenishment, and xanthophyll carotenoids are helpful in preventing certain health problems,” said James C. Griffiths, Ph.D., co-author and senior vice president, international and scientific affairs, CRN. “Choline, for example, helps reduce issues with the brain and spinal cord in babies, NAD-replenishment can protect your brain against neurodegenerative diseases, and xanthophyll carotenoids help prevent the deterioration of eye and brain health.”   

The body of evidence presented by experts at the 2023 CRN-I Symposium on these nutrient categories warrants an examination of setting nutrient reference values both globally and in specific countries, said Griffiths. 

The event also underscored the persistent problem of malnutrition in many parts of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic and rising food prices have raised concerns about reversing progress in addressing various forms of malnutrition, including when it is related to micronutrients. 

As people live longer, the focus of nutrition recommendations is shifting from preventing nutrient deficiencies to supporting optimal health, especially in the face of rising rates of age-related and chronic diseases. The forum noted the importance of precision nutrition, including factors like age, gender, environment, genetics, and the human microbiome. Understanding the role of the microbiome in nutrient metabolism and its impact on individual health was highlighted. 

A lack of comprehensive dietary intake data, which is vital for understanding dietary patterns and informing policies, was emphasized. Efforts are needed to improve data collection and analysis. In addition, a need for better biomarkers for essential nutrients was discussed. Identifying markers of biological versus chronological age and functional biomarkers of “healthspan” were identified as areas of significant interest. 

The symposium concluded that addressing these global nutrition challenges requires a multi-faceted approach, including innovative policy shifts and evidence-based solutions. Researchers, healthcare practitioners, and policymakers must work together to find effective strategies to optimize nutrient status and prevent health-related issues. 

The Council for Responsible Nutrition-International (CRN-I), the worldwide arm of CRN, remains committed to advancing nutrition science and policy across the globe, with the goal of enhancing human health and well-being.  

Reports from past CRN-I symposia are published in the European Journal of Nutrition (2011–2022) and in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (2010), with translations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, available on the CRN-I website

CRN-I is an international program of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry in the USA. CRN-I’s mission is to provide science-based information to regulators, health care professionals and the media, particularly those outside the United States, supporting the safety and benefit of dietary ingredients and dietary/food supplements, and to promote sound nutrition and food safety policies well-grounded in science.