Vitamins and Other Micronutrients
Since 1971, National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) has been the central laboratory for analyzing specimens obtained from people who take part in CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). In this major role, the laboratory specializes in measuring nutritional factors that cause disease or alter the risk for disease. For example, the laboratory conducts a battery of tests that evaluate the effectiveness of antioxidants (such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, or zinc) in reducing diseases such as macular degeneration (a condition resulting in blindness), different types of cancer, or hypertension. The laboratory is also heavily involved in conducting research and developing state-of-the-art methods for measuring B vitamins, such as folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Deficiencies of these vitamins have been connected to an increased risk for neural tube defects, heart disease, and impaired cognitive function.
In 2000, NCEH established a Global Micronutrient Laboratory that collaborates with CDC colleagues to reduce the worldwide burden of micronutrient deficiencies, in countries such as Argentina, Malawi, Nicaragua, Oman, Ukraine, and Zambia. The laboratory provides technical assistance on questions about laboratory analysis, field logistics, and training in preparation for national nutrition surveys. The laboratory also provides external quality assurance services of measurements of various nutritional indicators such as urinary iodine, serum vitamin A, and serum B vitamins.
For More Information...