Inderscience Publishers

DNA damage: risk comparisons of low radiation vis-a-vis dietary micronutrient deficiencies

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Micronutrients are the substances in minute amounts that are essential for human life. This study discusses laboratory and epidemiological evidence that dietary micronutrient deficiencies cause DNA damage. DNA damage comparisons are made between dietary micronutrient deficiencies and low dose radiation. Laboratory studies show that micronutrient deficiencies can cause greater DNA damage than radiation doses significantly above background environmental levels. Previous concerns that have been expressed about comparing endogenous DNA damages to radiation-induced DNA damages are discussed, in particular, the role of radiation clusters. It is shown that cluster damage does not preclude making comparisons of dietary micronutrient deficiencies vis-a-vis radiation, especially at background environmental levels. Such damage comparisons provide the public with a means of placing radiation risk in perspective by comparing a readily appreciated, everyday concept (dietary deficiencies) with that of radiation.

Keywords: constitutive repair, induced repair, diet, folate, low dose radiation, micronutrients, public perception, low radiation, radiation risks, radio-induced cancer, risk estimation, DNA damage, dietary deficiencies, radiation clusters, micronutrient deficiencies

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