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Suggested Citation:"Food Components That Will Not Be Reviewed By the Panel." Institute of Medicine. 1998. Dietary Reference Intakes: Proposed Definition and Plan for Review of Dietary Antioxidants and Related Compounds. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6252.
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Selenium

Selenium is a required constituent of several enzymes that remove ROS in vivo. Moreover, selenium is present in human diets, and its consumption has been quantitated in a number of different populations. Biomarkers for selenium and data for selenium intake exist and have been reported in studies of populations that vary with respect to selenium status. Some intervention studies have been performed that demonstrate effects of selenium supplementation on biomarkers and on the development of disease. Thus, the panel will review the available scientific data and, if it is adequate, will establish DRIs for selenium.

Food Components that will not be Reviewed by the Panel

Phenols and Polyphenols

Phenols and polyphenols are widely distributed in plant foods. They have been shown to have antioxidant activity in vitro and may possibly elicit biological effects consistent with sustained and improved human health in several observational studies. Nonetheless, comprehensive food composition data, which are required to assess dietary intakes in a population, are unavailable. In addition, only extremely limited data are available on the absorption and metabolism of these food components. Although phenols and polyphenols may be important dietary constituents, insufficient data are available at this time to warrant their inclusion in this evaluation.

Other Proposed Dietary Antioxidants

The overall DRI framework includes a planned review, by another expert panel, of food components grouped as "other food components." That review, when it is initiated, may include other related compounds not addressed by this panel, such as flavonoids, phenols and polyphenols, phytoestrogens, lipoic acid, and food additives. Because the published literature on some of these potentially important dietary substances is scant at this time, other data may emerge in the future that could allow a consideration of setting DRIs for these compounds as well.

Summary

The panel's proposed definition of a dietary antioxidant follows:

A dietary antioxidant is a substance in foods that significantly decreases the adverse effects of reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, or both on normal physiological function in humans .

Suggested Citation:"Food Components That Will Not Be Reviewed By the Panel." Institute of Medicine. 1998. Dietary Reference Intakes: Proposed Definition and Plan for Review of Dietary Antioxidants and Related Compounds. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6252.
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There has been intense interest recently among the public and the media in the possibility that increased intakes of ''dietary antioxidants'' may protect against chronic disease. Many research programs are underway in this area. Epidemiological evidence suggests that the consumption of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of both cancer and cardiovascular disease, and it has been hypothesized that this is due in part to the presence of antioxidant compounds in fruits and vegetables. As a result, these compounds have been considered together by many people and loosely termed dietary antioxidants.

Closer examination, however, reveals that compounds typically grouped together as dietary antioxidants can differ quite considerably from one another, both in terms of their chemical behavior and in terms of their biological properties. This report from the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board provides a proposed definition of dietary antioxidants so as to characterize the biological properties of these compounds.

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