Animal products, diseases and drugs: a plea for better integration between agricultural sciences, human nutrition and human pharmacology


Eicosanoids are major players in the pathogenesis of several common diseases, with either overproduction or imbalance (e.g. between thromboxanes and prostacyclins) often leading to worsening of disease symptoms. Both the total rate of eicosanoid production and the balance between eicosanoids with opposite effects are strongly dependent on dietary factors, such as the daily intakes of various eicosanoid precursor fatty acids, and also on the intakes of several antioxidant nutrients including selenium and sulphur amino acids. Even though the underlying biochemical mechanisms have been thoroughly studied for more than 30 years, neither the agricultural sector nor medical practitioners have shown much interest in making practical use of the abundant high-quality research data now available. In this article, we discuss some specific examples of the interactions between diet and drugs in the pathogenesis and therapy of various common diseases. We also discuss, using common pain conditions and cancer as specific examples, how a better integration between agricultural science, nutrition and pharmacology could lead to improved treatment for important diseases (with improved overall therapeutic effect at the same time as negative side effects and therapy costs can be strongly reduced). It is shown how an unnaturally high omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid concentration ratio in meat, offal and eggs (because the omega-6/omega-3 ratio of the animal diet is unnaturally high) directly leads to exacerbation of pain conditions, cardiovascular disease and probably most cancers. It should be technologically easy and fairly inexpensive to produce poultry and pork meat with much more long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and less arachidonic acid than now, at the same time as they could also have a similar selenium concentration as is common in marine fish. The health economic benefits of such products for society as a whole must be expected vastly to outweigh the direct costs for the farming sector.

DOI: 10.1186/1476-511X-10-16

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@inproceedings{Christophersen2010AnimalPD, title={Animal products, diseases and drugs: a plea for better integration between agricultural sciences, human nutrition and human pharmacology}, author={Olav Albert Christophersen and Anna Katharina Haug}, booktitle={Lipids in Health and Disease}, year={2010} }