While ALL nutrients play an important role in your body, a functional classification differentiation was recently suggested by Dr. Bruce Ames of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, CA and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“It is proposed that proteins/enzymes be classified into two classes according to their essentiality for immediate survival/reproduction and their function in long-term health: that is, survival proteins versus longevity proteins. As proposed by the triage theory, a modest deficiency of one of the nutrients/cofactors triggers a built-in rationing mechanism that favors the proteins needed for immediate survival and reproduction (survival proteins) while sacrificing those needed to protect against future damage (longevity proteins). Impairment of the function of longevity proteins results in an insidious acceleration of the risk of diseases associated with aging. I also propose that nutrients required for the function of longevity proteins constitute a class of vitamins that are here named “longevity vitamins.” I suggest that many such nutrients play a dual role for both survival and longevity. The evidence for classifying taurine as a conditional vitamin, and the following 10 compounds as putative longevity vitamins, is reviewed: the fungal antioxidant ergothioneine; the bacterial metabolites pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) and queuine; and the plant antioxidant carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, a- and ß-carotene, ß-cryptoxanthin, and the marine carotenoid astaxanthin. Because nutrient deficiencies are highly prevalent in the United States (and elsewhere), appropriate supplementation and/or an improved diet could reduce much of the consequent risk of chronic disease and premature aging.”
As their name implies, survival nutrients support your body’s basic processes of survival and reproduction.
Longevity nutrients are aimed at encouraging the body’s efforts to remain healthy and free of disease, and live for an extended period of time!
Although the researchers identified 30 nutrients that help sustain longevity, the key superstars are: Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and selenium.
The researchers stated that these nutrients play many essential roles in the body, including repairing DNA, maintaining cardiovascular health, supporting the immune system and preventing cellular damage due to oxidative stress.
Dr. Ames explained, “The prevention of the degenerative diseases of aging is a different science than curing disease: it will involve expertise in metabolism, nutrition and biochemistry…”
These include lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene.
Is your body getting enough?
Now the next logical question is: Are you getting enough of these longevity nutrients?
Well, chances are high that you may be lacking.
Deficiencies in both Vitamin D and Omega-3 are rampant in our society. Many of us lack Vitamin D due to limited time in the sun and sunscreen use.
Our diets don’t provide the level of Omega-3 essential fatty acids that they used to. The formerly pasture fed animals which provided a rich source of Omega-3 fats when we ate the meat, milk and eggs from the animals are now fed a grain-based diet. In the US they are often fed GMO grains to boot!
These animals now not only DON’T provide Omega-3 fats, but also instead load our bodies with inflammatory Omega-6 fats!
Also working against us is the fact that our food is simply not as nutritious as it used to be due to bio-engineering of crops and poor soil quality.