Scientist names the key vitamins and minerals
A scientist has named the 36 ‘longevity’ nutrients – found in everything from red meat to noodles – that could ‘add a few years to everyone’s lives’.
Consuming plenty of the three dozen vitamins and minerals prevents disease and the risk of an early death, Dr Bruce Ames claims.
However, Dr Ames, of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute claim that most people are deficient in many of the nutrients.
Below, MailOnline names the 36 nutrients, from vitamin K to selenium, and reveals how they benefit your health and the foods richest in them.
Dr Ames, who led the study, said: ‘Diet is very important for our long-term health.
‘This 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.
‘The low hanging fruit in prolonging healthy ageing lies in optimising vitamin and mineral intake.’
He published the list of nutrients in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr Ames said around 70 per cent of people in the US are deficient in vitamin D and as many as 60 per cent lack vitamin E.
This is despite vitamin D being essential for bone, heart and brain health, and vitamin E protecting against skin and eye damage.
Dr Ames made the conclusion by evaluating research conducted by himself and his colleagues, as well as other scientists from around the world.
This is based on the theory that when a person lacks certain vitamins and minerals, their body uses the nutrients it does have to ensure their survival.
This is rather than investing the nutrients into helping them live longer or preventing disease.
For example, a vitamin K deficiency may cause a person’s to use the vitamin K it has to ensure blood properly clots, rather than investing it into heart health.
While deficiency in ‘longevity vitamins’ may not put someone at immediate risk of death, it can cause gradual damage that only becomes obvious in later life.
Ensuring lifelong health is increasingly important due to people all over the world living longer, Dr Ames said.
‘[The current review] may be a theoretical paper, but I hope it can add a few years to everyone’s lives,’ he added.
Although factors aside from diet can cause disease, such as infections and genetics, eating well strengthens the immune system so it can then better fight pathogens off.
Previous research suggests more than 50 genetic diseases are preventable by taking high-dose supplements.
And while some of the damage caused by nutrient deficiencies can be reversed once vitamins and minerals are taken in sufficient amounts, DNA damage can be permanent.
‘The prevention of the degenerative diseases of ageing is a different science than curing disease,’ Dr Ames said.
‘It will involve expertise in metabolism, nutrition, biochemistry, and genetic regulatory elements and polymorphisms.
‘This approach is critical for lowering medical costs.’
The EU could save €4billion (£3.5bn) from osteoporosis alone if people took vitamin D and calcium supplements, according to Dr Ames.
REVEALED: THE 36 NUTRIENTS THAT HELP YOU LIVE LONGER, HOW THEY BENEFIT YOUR HEALTH AND WHAT TO EAT TO GET THEM
Protects against: Blindness, certain cancers, acne and osteoporosis
Found in: Liver, fish oils, milk, eggs, and orange vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and carrots
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Protects against: Nerve, muscle and heart damage
Found in: Beef, liver, nuts, oats, oranges, pork, eggs, seeds and peas
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Protects against: Cataracts, heart disease and migraines
Found in: Red meat, almonds, dairy, eggs, fish and green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach
Protects against: Heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s
Found in: Pork, poultry, fish, bread, eggs and vegetables
Protects against: Anaemia
Found in: Animals products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy; as well as fortified cereals
Protects against: Multiple sclerosis
Found in: Egg yolks, almonds, cauliflower, cheese, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and spinach
Protects against: Heart disease, osteoporosis, anameia and scurvy
Found in: All fruit and vegetables, particularly broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower
Protects against: Liver, brain, muscle and nervous system damage
Found in: Liver, salmon, chickpeas, eggs and turkey
Protects against: Skin, heart and eye damage
Found in: Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables
Folic acid (B9)
Protects against: Spina bifida in newborns when taken in early pregnancy, certain cancers and anaemia
Found in: Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, and fortified breads and cereals
Protects against: Heart disease, brain damage and arthritis
Found in: Liver, chicken, tuna, turkey, salmon, anchovies, pork and beef
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenate)
Protects against: ADHD, arthritis, allergies, hair loss, asthma and colitis
Found in: Mushrooms, fish, avocados, eggs, chicken, beef, pork and sunflower seeds
Protects against: Bone damage, certain cancers and diabetes
Found in: Dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya beans, tofu, fish where you eat the bones; such as sardines, and fortified products; like bread and soya drinks
Protects against: Dangerous blood pressure levels and poor nerve signalling
Found in: Salt, seaweed, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, celery and olives
Protects against: Diabetes
Found in: Vegetables, whole grains, beef, poultry and dairy
Protects against: Nerve damage
Found in: Fish, nuts, cereals and green leafy vegetables
Protects against: Nerve cell damage
Found in: Shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes, kidneys and liver
Protects against: Bone damage and immune dysfunction
Found in: Seaweed, cod, dairy, shrimp, tuna, eggs and prunes
Protects against: Low levels of oxygen in the body
Found in: Red meat, shellfish, spinach, liver, lentils, pumpkin seeds, quinoa and turkey
Protects against: Oesophageal cancer, liver disease, yeast infections and allergies
Found in: Peas, lentils, kidney beans, nuts, soy, dairy, eggs and whole grains
Protects against: Arthritis, osteoporosis and cognitive decline
Found in: Milk, meat, beans, lentils and nuts
Protects against: Stroke, osteoporosis and kidney stones
Found in: Squash, sweet potato, yoghurt and halibut
Protects against: Muscle and nerve damage
Found in: Salt, and smoked and cured meats
Protects against: Bacterial infections and acne
Found in: Seafood, eggs, liver, kidneys, nuts and dairy
Protects against: Bleeding, immune dysfunction and thyroid problems
Found in: Seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds
Protects against: Heart disease, osteoporosis and cognitive decline
Found in: Parsley, spinach, grapes and eggs
Protects against: Heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke and certain cancers
Found in: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, chicken, eggs and sardines
Protects against: Rickets (known as osteomalacia in adults), certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes and cognitive decline
Found in: Sunlight and oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel
Omega-3 fatty acids
Protect against: Heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, bipolar and depression
Found in: Oily fish
Protects against: Cancer, particularly lung; heart disease and stroke
Found in: Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds
Protects against: Cognitive decline
Found in: Liver, peanuts, red meat, poultry, fish, pasta, noodles and rice
Protects against: Heart disease, cognitive decline, diabetes and mitochondrial diseases, which can cause brain damage.
Mitochondria are the ‘energy powerhouses’ of cells
Found in: Fish and other seafood, seaweed, eggs and the dark meat of poultry
Protects against: Heart disease, and brain and eye damage
Found in: Mushrooms, meat, poultry and red kidney beans
Protects against: Diabetes, cognitive decline and general inflammation
Found in: Fruit and vegetables
Protects against: Multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, ADHD, autism and bipolar
Found in: Tomatoes, wheat, coconut water and dairy
Carotenoids are antioxidants produced by plants. The following make up 95 per cent of those in the human body:
- Alpha and beta carotene
- Beta cryptoxanthin
Protect against: Blindness, cognitive decline, heart disease, various cancers, high blood pressure, hearing loss, inflammation and immune system damage
Found in: Fruit and vegetables
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