89 Carlton Street
M5B 1L6, Canada
ISOM Medical Education Advisory Board
Aileen Burford-Mason PhD is an immunologist and an expert in evidence-based nutrition. Formerly Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, she currently maintains a busy nutritional consulting practice in Toronto. For the past 20 years she has taught continuing medical education courses for doctors and other health care practitioners on the evidence-based use of diet and nutritional supplements in clinical practice. She is the author of two best-selling books on nutrition and health – The Healthy Brain (HarperCollins Canada, 2017), and Eat Well Age Better (Dundurn Press, 2012). Her new book The War on Viruses will be published in April 2021 by HarperCollins Canada.
A World Unprepared: COVID-19, Nutrition and Immunity
In December of 2019 the World Health Organization was alerted to an outbreak of viral pneumonia occurring in Wuhan, China. One year later the infection, caused by a novel coronavirus, had spread worldwide; 104 million confirmed cases of infection had been recorded and 2.2 million deaths. While most infections were mild, early research showed that severe complications and fatalities were due not to failure to control the virus but to a catastrophic overreaction of the immune system – a cytokine storm.
When operating effectively, the immune system represents biological teamwork at its best – a symphony of protective cells and biomolecules acting together to rapidly recognize potentially harmful microbes and eliminate them. But the orchestration of this response depends on a continuous supply of essential nutrients. This talk will focus the role of specific vitamins and minerals in initiating and controlling immune responses and the benefits and pitfalls of nutritional supplementation during COVID-19
Contributions to Orthomolecular Medicine
- Editorial Board of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine
- Advisory Board: Japanese College of Intravenous Therapy (2013 –); ISOM (2016 –)
- Medical Education Advisory Board, Canadian Society for Orthomolecular Medicine (2009 –)
- National Spokesperson for Orthomolecular Health 2008-2009 (Canadian media tour)
- Speaker, 48th Annual International Orthomolecular Medicine Today Conference – 06.02.2019
Burford-Mason AP (2013) Orthomolecular Medicine and Heart Health: Unmasking the Magnesium Link to Multiple Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 38(1):9-16
Burford-Mason AP (2009) Vitamin D Deficiency in Older Adults, Part 1: The Prevention of Chronic Degenerative Disease and Support of Immune Health. Geriatrics & Aging. 12(1):44-47
Burford-Mason AP, Dryden P, Kelner M, Saunders PR, Ware M (2005) Complementary and Alternative (CAM) Therapies and Pain in the Elderly: A Review. Geriatrics & Aging. 8(6):28-33
Burford-Mason AP (2003) Vitamin E and Heart Disease Controversy: Two Major Studies; One Common Flaw. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 18(2):59-60
Burford-Mason AP (2006) Magnesium. In: Scientific Evidence for Musculoskeletal, Bariatric and Sports Nutrition. Ed: Kohlstadt I. Taylor and Francis (CRC Press) USA. pp 137-152.
Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of FameInducted 2015
Born Aileen Philomena Reilly in Birmingham England, Aileen returned with her parents to their native Ireland when she was three years old. Her earliest education was at the Dominican Convent, Santa Sabina, Dublin, where her favourite activities were writing, drawing and performing in school productions. From there she went to boarding school at Loreto Convent, County Meath, where she learned little science but developed a lasting love of music.
Aileen’s scientific education began in earnest at University College Dublin where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree. After graduation she moved to England to pursue a research career as a forensic biochemist in the horse-racing town of Newmarket, Suffolk. Her most enduring memory of that time was her futile attempts to appear calm and unruffled when collecting blood and urine samples from horses. (The horses were not fooled and to this day she is afraid of horses.)
While living in Newmarket Aileen met and married the love of her life, Roger Burford-Mason (d. 1998). They moved to Hitchin, Hertfordshire, where their son Oliver was born. After some years in teaching, she returned to research, this time in immunology. In 1983 she completed her PhD in immunology and continued research in that field until 1988 when she emigrated with her family from the UK to Canada.
Once in Toronto she moved into cancer research, holding positions as Research Associate and later Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Pathology. However, a nutritional thread had run through her research career, and she gradually became convinced that most disease had a major nutritional component that was being ignored. So in 1996 she made the transition from conventional research to orthomolecular medicine.
Today Aileen divides her time between her private practice, writing, and lecturing to medical and allied health professionals on the evidence based use of diet and supplements in health maintenance and disease prevention. Eat Well, Age Better, her best-selling book, has been enthusiastically received by doctors and the public. The Healthy Brain, published by HarperCollins Canada in 2017 made the Globe and Mail’s top 10 non-fiction best seller list.