Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research Supports Calls To Study Health Benefits Of Nitrate, Nitrite

Date:
August 21, 2009
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Researchers are challenging health standards that consider nitrates and nitrites in food to be harmful. New research suggests that although there are negative health effects associated with the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers and excessive nitrates in groundwater, nitrates and nitrites -- as they occur in plants -- may actually provide health benefits.

People consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables may be ingesting much more nitrate and nitrite than recommended -- more than 1,000 milligrams -- with no adverse health effects, authors note.
Credit: iStockphoto/Stephanie Horrocks

A Michigan State University researcher is challenging health standards that consider nitrates and nitrites in food to be harmful.

Related Articles


Norman Hord’s research suggests that although there are negative health effects associated with the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers and excessive nitrates in groundwater, nitrates and nitrites -- as they occur in plants -- may actually provide health benefits.

Nitrate and nitrite are naturally occurring ions associated with the nitrogen cycle in soil and water. They are regulated in water and certain foods by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration because they have been associated with gastrointestinal cancer, blood disorders in infants and other health problems. The World Health Organization established a standard of 222 milligrams per day as an acceptable daily nitrate intake.

Most of the concern with these compounds relates to their presence in drinking water from shallow wells near farms and the consumption of processed meats. In most diets, however, between 70 percent and 80 percent of the nitrates comes from vegetables, government and research sources say.

“We and others have shown that components of vegetables and fruit that originate in the soil may function as nutrients by contributing to cardiovascular health,” says Hord, associate professor of food science and human nutrition. “Since these components of plant foods have important health implications, the regulatory limits on the consumption of plant foods that contain nitrates and nitrites need to be seriously reconsidered.”

Hord, the primary author of the study, collaborated with Nathan Bryan and Yaoping Tang at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Their thesis and supporting arguments were published in the July 2009 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“We wanted to show the toxicity risk cited as the basis for federal regulatory levels for nitrate and nitrite are irrational because plant foods contain high concentrations of these food components,” Hord said. “People consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables may be ingesting much more nitrate and nitrite than recommended -- more than 1,000 milligrams -- with no adverse health effects. We’re calling for a systematic reevaluation of the literature to highlight the potential beneficial contributions that nitrates and nitrites from vegetables and fruits make to cardiovascular health.”

In an accompanying editorial, Nitrate in Foods: Harmful or Healthy?, Martjin Katan from the Institute of Health Sciences at VU University in Amsterdam said it is undisputed that nitrates benefit arteries, and he called for a trial to investigate whether consuming a food pattern rich in nitrate-containing vegetables is effective in lowering blood pressure.

Hord’s group’s study was funded by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, MSU and the American Heart Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Research Supports Calls To Study Health Benefits Of Nitrate, Nitrite." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090820175859.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2009, August 21). Research Supports Calls To Study Health Benefits Of Nitrate, Nitrite. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090820175859.htm
Michigan State University. "Research Supports Calls To Study Health Benefits Of Nitrate, Nitrite." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090820175859.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Satellite data shows the Amazon rainforest supports its lush flora with a little help from Sahara Desert dust. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

RightThisMinute (Feb. 25, 2015) This wounded fox knew what she was doing when she wandered into the yard of a nature photographer. The photographer got "Scamp" immediately in the hands of Wildlife Aid and she was released back into the wild in no time. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins