Medicine: Antimetabolites

Though many a New Englander will be outraged and incredulous to hear it, starting a meal with raw clams is risky. Clams contain a powerful enzyme that destroys much of the vitamin B-1 in other foods. (If you must eat clams, have them cooked —it destroys the enzyme—or compensate with extra B-1 in the rest of the meal.)

This advice to seafood lovers was given last week in the M.I.T. Technology Review, which reported that biochemists have launched a new study of antimetabolites, the nutritional mischiefmakers. Branded with tongue-twisting names like alphatocopherol quinone and pantoyltaurine, the newly discovered substances, present in...

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