UNSW Engineering’s Associate Professor Jayashree Arcot chaired the fifth International Vitamin Conference in Sydney on 8-10 August. 

The theme of the conference was ‘Vitamins for well-being: from womb to tomb’ and brought together researchers from all over the world to discuss the role of vitamins throughout the human life cycle.

“The aim of this year’s conference was to discuss the importance of vitamins during the various stages of our lives, “ A/Professor Arcot from the School of Chemical Engineering said.  

The conference was opened by President and Vice Chancellor of UNSW Sydney, Professor Ian Jacobs

“We were delighted to welcome delegates from all corners of the globe, including the USA, Europe and Asia to share their insights in Sydney for the first time.”

The conference was opened by President and Vice Chancellor of UNSW Sydney, Professor Ian Jacobs, who highlighted the importance of research for the betterment of society. He commented on breakthroughs that have happened in this area of research and how they have highlighted that diet and nutrition are crucial ‘from the womb to the tomb’. He also acknowledged that the correlation between health and vitamins is not new, recalling tales of ancient mariners suffering from scurvy because of a lack of fresh, vitamin-rich vegetables.

Keynote speaker Professor Ian Darnton-Hill from Tufts University in the US spoke about the significant benefits of vitamins for optimal health through all life stages. Professor Carol Bower from the Telethon Institute for kids addressed the benefits of folate fortification in preventing neural tube defects, particularly in the Aboriginal population. Others spoke about the role of niacin in the prevention of cardiac, vertebral and renal congenital birth defects.

The role of vitamins for healthy ageing was another topic of interest at the conference, including the significance of vitamin B12 for optimal cellular health, riboflavin for blood pressure reduction and the effects of Vitamin K deficiency in chronic renal disease.

The next international vitamin conference will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in September 2020.