Adequate consumption of 'longevity' vitamins could prolong healthy aging, nutrition scientist says

October 16, 2018 by Jason Alvarez, University of California, San Francisco
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A detailed new review of nutritional science argues that most American diets are deficient in a key class of vitamins and minerals that play previously unrecognized roles in promoting longevity and in staving off chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and, potentially, neurodegeneration.

In the review, published Oct. 15, 2018, as a "Perspective" article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bruce Ames, Ph.D., presents the conclusions of more than a decade of research in his laboratory at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), which is affiliated with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals.

These findings are presented alongside a detailed survey of additional evidence published by other scientists. Ames concludes that healthy aging can be extended by ingesting optimal levels of 30 known vitamins and essential minerals, and he suggests that these, along with 11 additional substances not currently classified as vitamins, should be recognized as essential "longevity vitamins" because of their potential to extend a healthy life.

vitamins and nutritional minerals are key components of a vast number of different enzymes that are necessary for the body's metabolic health, but according to research cited in the new review, as many as 70 percent of Americans are deficient in one or more these key nutrients. Most are not so deficient as to put their immediate health at risk from diseases such as rickets or scurvy, but Ames, a senior scientist at CHORI and emeritus professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at UC Berkeley, suggests that even minor vitamin deficiencies could impact long-term health.

Ames, who directs CHORI's Nutrition and Metabolism Center, argues that nutrition science has long overlooked the fact that most vitamins and minerals are required by dozens to hundreds of different enzymes within our cells. This means that the same nutrients we need to maintain our day-to-day health—such as vitamin D, , and magnesium—are also critical components of enzymes required for our bodies' long-term maintenance, in roles such as DNA repair, cardiovascular health and prevention of oxidative damage.

As a consequence, Ames writes, when the body is faced with shortages of key nutrients, it must "ration" them, enabling enzymes critical to our immediate survival and reproductive capacity to keep functioning at the expense of longer-term physiological needs. Ames— who is known for creating the "Ames test," a method he devised during the 1970s to rapidly predict a given chemical's potential to cause cancer—calls this theoretical framework "triage theory."

"The prevention of the degenerative diseases of aging is a different science than curing disease: it will involve expertise in metabolism, nutrition, biochemistry and genetic regulatory elements and polymorphisms," Ames writes. "This approach is critical for lowering medical costs. It has been estimated that the E.U. would save €4 billion from osteoporosis alone by using vitamin D and calcium supplementation."

In several recent publications, his team has found evidence that such trade-offs can be seen in people with chronic, low-level deficiencies in vitamin K and the element selenium (which are key components of 16 and 25 different enzymes, respectively). Published studies from the Ames lab suggest that, when forced to ration scarce vitamin K for its critical role in blood clotting, the body produces fewer enzymes required for keeping arteries clear, which has been linked to higher rates of mortality from cardiovascular disease.

"Diet is very important for our long-term health and this theoretical framework just reinforces that you should try to do what your mother told you: eat your veggies, eat your fruit, give up sugary soft drinks and empty carbohydrates," Ames said.

Ames suspects many more longevity vitamins may remain to be discovered because—unlike so-called survival vitamins, such as C, that were originally identified because we quickly become sick without them—their identification requires very long-term observation, since the damage caused by deprivation of these vitamins is, by nature, an insidious and slow process into old age.

Ames, who has published more than 500 scientific papers in a career spanning nearly seven decades, said he considers this an important publication. "This may be a theoretical paper, but I hope it can add a few years to everyone's lives."

Explore further: Nutrient supplement bar improves lung function in asthmatic adolescents

More information: Bruce N. Ames. Prolonging healthy aging: Longevity vitamins and proteins, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1809045115

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31 comments

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TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2018
You know, I understand these articles are just reprints of standard PR material, but the PNAS link requires purchase, and they could have easily included the list of these supplements above without us having to pay for them. Shameful clickbait?
Irock315
5 / 5 (2) Oct 16, 2018
In reference to TheGhostofOtto1923, you dont have to purchase anything to see the atticle. I didn't have to. If you want to kmow eht the 11 additional substances are, they are: Taurine, as a conditional vitamin; the fungal antioxidant ergothioneine; the bacterial metabolites pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) and queuine; and the plant antioxidants carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, α- and β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, and the marine carotenoid astaxanthin.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Oct 16, 2018
So irack please go ahead and post the rest?

"ingesting optimal levels of 30 known vitamins and essential minerals, and he suggests that these, along with 11 additional substances not currently classified as vitamins"

-or perhaps you dont understand what an abstract is?
RealScience
5 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2018
TGO - The article is paywalled, but the supplemental information is NOT paywalled and contains the names of at least most of the other substances, along with information from supporting studies.
Robin_Whittle
5 / 5 (2) Oct 17, 2018
The supporting information http://www.pnas.o...lemental contains details.

This article does not directly concern minerals. Increasing the potassium (US RDA 4700 mg) to sodium ratio is vital for reducing blood pressure. Potassium gluconate in water solution, drunk in small quantities throughout the day, is a good form of potassium supplementation, since it has a mild taste compared to other potassium salts. The risk of stroke is reduced by this and by increased intake of calcium and magnesium: https://medicalxp...ong.html https://www.goodr...Solution

Boron is essential for strong bones and avoiding arthritis, but this is not known by most doctors. http://arthritist...itis.pdf http://dergipark....e/395859 https://youtu.be/TJp7SW1pY2I

tekram
5 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2018
Bruce Ames is still alive? :) Good for him. He is 89 and still publishing. The triage theory is based on his work published in 2006 which is not pay-walled and worth reading.

Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage
Bruce N. Ames
PNAS November 21, 2006 103 (47) 17589-17594; https://doi.org/1...08757103
Noodle_Naut
5 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2018
The form of the supplements maters as you age. Zinc picolinate, and chromium picolinate are better than the alternatives, for example. Also, some minerals haven't received the status they should like sulfur and silica. Also, you want to take minerals at night except potassium which you need throughout the day, but better obtained from food as they can't put much in a pill.

And I think he is missing some key nutrients: l-carnitine, l-carnosine, l-proline, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, polyphenols, alpha-lipoic acid and phosphatidylserine (and related nutrients found in lecithin). I also think P-5-P, nicotinamide riboside and benfotiamine are helpful.

Some of these nutrients nutritionists avoid recommending because they are in denial that we are omnivores, and they don't want to enrage vegetarians as some of these are only found in animals: l-carnitine, l-carnosine, l-proline, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Oct 18, 2018
Realscience claims the abstract includes

"30 known vitamins... along with 11 additional substances not currently classified as vitamins"

-No it doesnt.
Noodle_Naut
3 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2018
Well, I made a fairly complete list of accepted nutrients and their forms but the length limit prevents me from posting. Anyway, here is a link to a reasonable list: https://en.wikipe...utrients

Conservative list. Betaine is ignored and a few other things. But they are going for...dead if you don't get them...criterion. Though, choline and inositol probably fit.
The mineral list could be abused: https://en.wikipe...utrient) Just stay away from the blasted arsenic, lead, and cadmium.

There are a bunch that are probably essential: https://en.wikipe...utrient)#Elements_considered_possibly_essential_but_not_confirmed And I think a few are solidly proven, but the FDA does not act very fast to include them.

I have tried some of these things. Vanadium and Silicon do seem to do something positive. Though I may just not be deficient in the others. And God knows why the EU does not consider Chromium essential.
Noodle_Naut
not rated yet Oct 18, 2018
I can't do anything in 1000 characters. The Wikipedia list is very sloppy with Vitamin E. You probably need all 8 forms rather than just the one they list. And stay away from the artificial Vitamin E.
RealScience
5 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2018
TGO - First, I referred to the supplement, not the abstract.
Ad second, where did I claim anything like the quote that you attribute to me?
I did not mention ANYTHING about "30 known vitamins...".

If you want the list of "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" that the article refers to, you could go to a store and look at multivitamin and mineral supplements. But I'll save you the trouble - the paper mentions vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, biotin, C, choline, D, E, folic acid, K, niacin, pantothenate; elements Ca, Cl, Cr, Co, Cu, I, Fe, Mn, Mg, Mo, P, K (potassium), Se, Na, S, Zn; and fatty acids DHA and EPA, and it mentions that there are also 9 essential dietary amino acids that are not discussed further.

But the most useful details on the non-standard nutrients are in the supplement, which is why I pointed out that that is not paywalled.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2018
TGO - First, I referred to the supplement, not the abstract
What supplement? There is no supplement.
If you want the list of "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" that the article refers to, you could go to a store
So you didn't read the article either? Hes talking about "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" specific to his study. There are far more than 30 out there. Hes not suggesting ingesting ALL of them, only 30 specific ones.

Stop wasting my time.
the paper mentions vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, biotin, C, choline, D, E, folic acid, K, niacin, pantothenate; elements Ca, Cl, Cr, Co, Cu, I, Fe, Mn, Mg, Mo, P, K (potassium), Se, Na, S, Zn; and fatty acids DHA and EPA, and it mentions that there are also 9 essential dietary amino acids that are not discussed further
So you paid the money and read the paper? Why didnt you mention that?
LaPortaMA
not rated yet Oct 19, 2018
You can find a scientist to say almost anything on either side of any issue.
Ames has been promoting this for over 20 years in various formulations.

Believe it or not, AMA 20 years ago agreed it was simplest to just take a one-a-day.
Funny thing is there is as much "science" (sic) against as for.
WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU?

Like MOST other MX articles -- I tell them this all the time -- it MISSES ENTIRE DIMENSIONS. What does that tell you?

Not worth debating, but there are solutions, and they tend to be the unexpected.

Nature or Nurture?

Ah, perhaps this might help. Get back to me after you've done this for a week. (Note I did NOT say "try.")
https://www.alche...diet.htm
(ignore the word "alchemy". I get it, but most will it mean antique. It's not. To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is as current as the weather.)

And at risk of sounding judgmental,

RealScience
not rated yet Oct 19, 2018
@TGO:
What supplement? There is no supplement.

Yes, there is. The PNAS link (the one that wants you to pay for the article) has the following open-access link to the supplemental information:
This article contains supporting information online at http://www.pnas.o...emental.

I pointed out that there was an open-access supplement that has information relevant to your question, and you somehow don't find it, and then you say that I am wasting YOUR time?

There are far more than 30 out there.

The paper simply lists the roughly 30 ones widely recognized as essential.
Most are never mentioned again in the paper.

So you paid the money and read the paper? Why didnt you mention that?

I have free access to this article even though it is paywalled.
I found the open-access supplement more interesting than the actual paywalled paper.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Oct 19, 2018
"The requested page "lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1809045115/-/DCSupplemental." could not be found."

Perhaps you were looking for this
http://www.pnas.o...sapp.pdf

-but your list isnt even close to the one found there. Where did you get it? Be honest.
The paper simply lists the roughly 30 ones widely recognized as essential.
Most are never mentioned again in the paper
Again, this isnt true per the pdf link I just posted.
RealScience
4 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2018
@TGO -
I told you that there was an open access supplemental document and what was in it.
When you said there wasn't, I told you that the PNAS link had a link to the supplement, and quoted the text from that page so that you could find it.
However the comment editor stuck the '.' at the end of the sentence onto the link (delete the ".' and the link will take you to the PDF access).

but your list isnt even close to the one found there. Where did you get it? Be honest.

What part of "the paper mentions vitamins A..." is not clear?
That list is from the paywalled paper (NOT from the open access supplement).
You didn't have free access, so I consolidated and shortened the list (e.g., replacing calcium with Ca) so that it would fit in a 1000 character comment.

After I was nice enough to tell you about the supplemental informatio, and then tell you where to find it, and then get you the list you wanted, you tell me to stop wasting YOUR time?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Oct 20, 2018
You didn't have free access, so I consolidated and shortened the list (e.g., replacing calcium with Ca) so that it would fit in a 1000 character comment
Not on your list:
SI-5-Putative Longevity Vitamins
a. Ergothioneine (ESH)

Also leutene, lycopene, taurine, quinone, etc all included in the authors list of '30 vitamins'.

You got your list elsewhere (wheaties box?) And pasted it here.
After I was nice enough to tell you about the supplemental information
It wasnt called supplemental info, it was called "SUPPORTIVE INFORMATION for Bruce N. Ames Perspective"

-and per my original comment the author of the reprinted PR release above could have made a short list from it.

I dont know what you're trying to prove by making shit up - do you?
RealScience
5 / 5 (1) Oct 20, 2018
1) Click on the DOI link at the bottom of the phys.org article
2) Use ctrl-f to find the word supplemental
The only place on the entire page that the word supplemental is used is in the link:
www.pnas.org/look...lemental
3) Click on that link.
This brings you to the 'supplemental information' that I told you about.

TGO - The article is paywalled, but the supplemental information is NOT paywalled and contains the names of at least most of the other substances, along with information from supporting studies.
...
Yes, there is. The PNAS link (the one that wants you to pay for the article) has the following open-access link to the supplemental information:

This article contains supporting information online at http://www.pnas.o...emental


Unfortunately the comments editor stuck the '.' at the end of the sentence onto end of the link, but you should still have been able to find the information from my description.
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 20, 2018

Not on your list:
SI-5... quinone, etc all included in the authors list of '30 vitamins'.

Regarding things not on the list of 30: Even the phys-org article is clear:
30 known vitamins and essential minerals... along with 11 additional substances not currently classified as vitamins


Hence my comment:
If you want the list of "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" that the article refers to, ... the paper mentions vitamins A...[list of ~30]...

But the most useful details on the non-standard nutrients are in the supplement, which is why I pointed out that that is not paywalled.


So the substances that you say are missing (... quinone, etc.) are NOT in the list of "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" because they are in the "11 additional substances not currently classified as vitamins".

I take the time to tell you what's in the paper, and then you argue with me about what's in a paper that you haven't even read?!?
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Oct 21, 2018
"SI-5-Putative Longevity Vitamins
a. Ergothioneine (ESH)'

They are classified as vitamins. Read the thing called "SUPPORTIVE INFORMATION for Bruce N. Ames Perspective".
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 21, 2018
Read the thing called "SUPPORTIVE INFORMATION...".


I already told you about that information and what was in it:
the supplemental information is NOT paywalled and contains the names of at least most of the other substances, along with information from supporting studies.
...
I found the open-access supplement more interesting than the actual paywalled paper.


As for 'supplemental' vs 'supporting', PNAS is inconsistent.
For this paper the tag says 'supporting' while the link says 'suppl' and 'supplemental'.

Also, the PNAS authors page: http://www.pnas.o...bmission says
All authors must submit their papers at PNAS. Only a single PDF file containing all text, figures, tables, and SUPPLEMENTAL information (SI) is required for initial submissions...
while the "PNAS Information for Authors" PDF uses 'SI' as supporting
Authors are encouraged to use SUPPORTING information (SI)
.
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 21, 2018
As for your statement:
"SI-5-Putative Longevity Vitamins
a. Ergothioneine (ESH)'

They are classified as vitamins.


I told you what THE PAPER has for the list of "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" (since you don't have free access).

If you want the list of "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" that the article refers to ... the paper mentions vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, biotin, C, choline, D, E, folic acid, K, niacin, pantothenate; elements Ca, Cl, Cr, Co, Cu, I, Fe, Mn, Mg, Mo, P, K (potassium), Se, Na, S, Zn; and fatty acids DHA and EPA, and it mentions that there are also 9 essential dietary amino acids that are not discussed further.

But the most useful details on the non-standard nutrients are in the supplement, which is why I pointed out that that is not paywalled.


If you don't believe me, pay the $10 to READ THE PAPER and confirm or refute that I am telling you correctly what THE PAPER has in that list.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2018
If you don't believe me
Of course I dont believe you. Because you said
TGO - The article is paywalled, but the supplemental information is NOT paywalled and contains the names of at least most of the other substances
-which isnt true. MOST of the vitamins on your wheaties box list are NOT in the thing called "SUPPORTIVE INFORMATION for Bruce N. Ames Perspective"

-which is what I said in my original comment.
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 22, 2018
MOST of the vitamins on your wheaties box list are NOT in the thing called "SUPPORTIVE INFORMATION... "


I did NOT say that the supplemental information contains the list of 30. I said
...the supplemental information is NOT paywalled and contains the names of at least most of the OTHER substances...


You then said
Realscience claims the ABSTRACT includes

"30 known vitamins... along with 11 additional substances not currently classified as vitamins"


I replied
...I referred to the SUPPLEMENT, not the ABSTRACT.... I did not mention ANYTHING about "30 known vitamins...".

If you want the list of "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" ... the PAPER mentions vitamins A... [the 'wheaties box list']
...
But the most useful details on the NON-STANDARD nutrients are in the SUPPLEMENT, which is why I pointed out that THAT is not paywalled.


- continued -
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 22, 2018
- continued -

I even explained:
The PAPER simply lists the roughly 30 ones widely recognized as essential.
Most are never mentioned again in the PAPER....
I found the open-access supplement more interesting than the actual paywalled paper.

When you then asked where I got the list, I replied:

What part of "the paper mentions vitamins A..." is not clear?
That list is from the paywalled paper (NOT from the open access supplement).
You didn't have free access, so I consolidated and shortened the list (e.g., replacing calcium with Ca) so that it would fit in a 1000 character comment.

When you challenged the contents of list of 30, I confirmed its origin:

I told you what THE PAPER has for the list of "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" (since you don't have free access).
...
If you don't believe me, pay the $10 to READ THE PAPER and confirm or refute that I am telling you correctly what THE PAPER has in that list.


- continued -
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 22, 2018
- continued -

As anyone with even a modicum of reading comprehension can see, I have NOT said that the supporting information contains the 'wheaties box list' of 30, but that the PAPER contains the list of 30 (and the supporting information contains the names of at least most of the OTHER substances).

I am sure that you have already wasted more than $10 of your time typing comments challenging what is in a paper that you haven't even read, so spend the $10 and READ the PAPER.

You will find that, just as I said:
That list [the 'wheaties box' list] is from the paywalled paper (NOT from the open access supplement).
You didn't have free access, so I consolidated and shortened the list (e.g., replacing calcium with Ca) so that it would fit in a 1000 character comment.

Read the PAPER!
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Oct 22, 2018
and contains the names of at least most of the OTHER substances
It doesnt contain most of the other substances.
Read the PAPER!
Per my original comment
You know, I understand these articles are just reprints of standard PR material, but the PNAS link requires purchase, and they could have easily included the list of these supplements above without us having to pay for them. Shameful clickbait?
Hey ever see this movie?
https://www.youtu...o7H9tqSM

One of my favs
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 22, 2018

and contains the names of at least most of the OTHER substances

It doesnt contain most of the other substances.


From the PO article:

optimal levels of 30 known vitamins and essential minerals... along with 11 additional substances

I already gave you the list of 30 from the paper:
the list of "30 known vitamins and essential minerals" that the article refers to... the paper mentions vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, biotin, C, choline, D, E, folic acid, K, niacin, pantothenate; elements Ca, Cl, Cr, Co, Cu, I, Fe, Mn, Mg, Mo, P, K (potassium), Se, Na, S, Zn; and fatty acids DHA and EPA, and it mentions that there are also 9 essential dietary amino acids that are not discussed further.


As for whether the supplement names at least most of the 11 others, it names taurine, ergothioneine, pyrroloquinoline quinone, queuine, α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin and lycopene. Please count!
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 22, 2018
I think that I have figured out where the confusion started.

The PO article says:

Ames concludes that healthy aging can be extended by ingesting optimal levels of 30 known vitamins and essential minerals, and he suggests that these, along with 11 additional substances not currently classified as vitamins...

Your FIRST comment says:
You know, I understand these articles are just reprints of standard PR material, but the PNAS link requires purchase, and they could have easily included the list of these supplements above without us having to pay for them. Shameful clickbait?

Since the list of 30 is KNOWN vitamins and essentials, I assumed that you were referring to the 11 other ones, and thus told you where to find them:

TGO - The article is paywalled, but the supplemental information is NOT paywalled and contains the names of at least most of the other substances, along with information from supporting studies.


RealScience
not rated yet Oct 22, 2018
Since I had addressed your FIRST comment, your reply to my comment made little sense to me:
Realscience claims the abstract includes

"30 known vitamins... along with 11 additional substances not currently classified as vitamins"

-No it doesnt.


Hence my reply to you:

TGO - First, I referred to the supplement, not the abstract.
Ad [sic] second, where did I claim anything like the quote that you attribute to me?
I did not mention ANYTHING about "30 known vitamins...".


However since I agree that he PO summary should have included the list of 30, and since I have free access to the paper itself, I got you the list of 30 from the paper, and shortened it to fit in a comment.
RealScience
not rated yet Oct 22, 2018
If you want to confirm that the list of 30 that I got for you is correct, "The Daily Mail" just published their summary of the nutrients that the Ames paper names (I hope that the comments editor does not mess up the URL):
https://www.daily...ife.html

You will notice that this list contains the same items as the 'wheaties box' list, except for manganese and except for not identifying the fatty acids.

However if you Google-search the following:
PNAS Ames iron, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum
the first hit (at least for me) is the Ames paper and the Google preview shows that manganese IS in the paper's list.

Similarly a search for:
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentanoic acid (EPA)
will confirm that the fatty acids are DHA and EPA.

So the 'wheaties box' list matches what is in the paper.

Have a long and healthy life!

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