According to an American researcher a diet with a chronic deficiency of vitamins and other "micronutrients" might lead to the onset of contemporary ills like cancer, obesity and the degenerative diseases of ageing.
This finding was stated by Professor Bruce Ames, of the University of California, Berkeley, who invented one of the standard tests for cancer-causing chemicals.
He said that 1 or more of the 40 micronutrients essential for a healthy life were short in people's diet.
However, Dr Ames told the American Association meeting that consumption of dietary supplements in the form of vitamin pills could aid in combating many age-related disorders.
According to him, a large number of people on a high-calorie diet in the West or poor diet in developing countries were deficient in many micronutrients. That's what lead to the body enter an emergency "triage" response, where it tried to maintain balance of its metabolism by a process of compensation.
Though, immediate survival is guaranteed by adopting this mechanism, but its consequences include an increase in DNA damage, causing future cancers, a lowered immune defence, and a decay of the mitochondrial "power plants" of the cells, which causes accelerated ageing," he said.
He also said that a deficiency of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients could also be responsible for obesity to a certain extent.