Healthy aging and vitamins, minerals and fatty acids (backed by science)

Cover Photo by Brooke Lark

In the following study Prolonging healthy aging: Longevity vitamins and proteins, the association or causality between various diseases of aging and a number of vitamins and mineral deficiencies has been analyzed—by screening the literature — and the results indicated that vitamins, minerals and fatty acids promoting longevity actually do exist!

Let’s see some examples now: 

Vitamin D 🌝 🔬

Extensive evidence showed that vitamin D deficiency caused—or has been associated with — a large number of diseases that affect healthy aging such as all-cause mortality, cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, brain function and so forth. Thus, it is clear that vitamin D performs more than just its initially assigned function of maintaining bone health: in fact it is important for a healthy long life, and thus it is a longevity vitamin.

Magnesium💊🔬

Magnesium deficiency affects about 45% of the US population and has been associated with increased all-cause mortality, poor DNA repair capacity, increased risk of lung cancer and various other kinds of cancer, heart disease, telomere shortening and risk of stroke.

Α recent review on the subclinical effects of Mg deficiency makes the case that this deficiency is a principal driver of CVD (Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis). Mg is required to convert vitamin D to its active steroid hormone form.

Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids 🐟🔬: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

Low blood levels of DHA/EPA were shown (in a 5-y study) to be associated with a faster rate of telomere shortening, a marker of cell aging. Supplemental fish oil slowed telomere shortening and lowered biomarkers of oxidation in older adults. Daily supplemental of DHA increased the rate of clearance of amyloid plaques in people with mild cognitive impairment. DHA and EPA are also important for vitamin D steroid hormone effectiveness. 

Taurine (2-Aminoethanesulfonic Acid) 💊🔬

It has been shown to be important in preventing numerous health problems, such as CVD, brain function, diabetes and mitochondrial diseases, and it is proposed as a longevity vitamin.

Taurine effects on CVD have been examined (The potential protective effects of taurine on coronary heart disease) and indicated that taurine supplementation lowers blood pressure, improves vascular function and raises plasma hydrogen sulfide levels. Taurine consumption was the most significant factor associated with reduced risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) in two international epidemiological studies (25 countries; n = 14,000). 

For example, Japanese people in Okinawa that had the highest taurine dietary intake had also the lowest incidence of IHD and longest lifespan. In contrast, Japanese immigrants in Brazil who ate little seafood, but more meat and salt, had a 17-y shorter lifespan as a consequence of a very high IHD mortality. Other human clinical studies showed that taurine decreases platelet aggregation, serum cholesterol levels, LDL/triglyceride levels and enhances cardiac function.

Taurine plays also an important role in brain development (including neuronal proliferation, stem cell proliferation and differentiation), remediates also diabetic pathologies, including retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, cardiopathy, atherosclerosis, altered platelet aggregation and endothelial dysfunction. 

Ergothioneine 🍄🔬

The fungal antioxidant ergothioneine (ESH) is synthesized by most mushrooms, cyanobacteria and many types of soil bacteria but not by plants or animals. Various plant foods contain small amounts of ESH taken up from the soil and animals that eat such plants contain ESH in their flesh.

The edible fungi synthesize ESH to concentrations varying from a very high level (>100 mg/kg wet weight in king boletus mushrooms) to a much lower level (0.5 mg/kg in the white-button commercial mushrooms). Foods known to have moderate levels of ESH (1 mg/kg wet weight) include also beef, pork, lamb and chicken. Oat bran, black turtle bean, and red kidney bean contain >3 mg/kg.

Its function as a specialized antioxidant is thought to be implicated in CVD prevention. Its levels decrease significantly with age past 80 y, and significantly lower levels were found in individuals with mild cognitive impairment. 

It has been suggested that ESH acts as an adaptive antioxidant for the protection of injured tissues. It is also present in high concentrations in mitochondria and it has been suggested that it may be a vitamin.

Pyrroloquinoline Quinone💊🔬

The bacterial compound pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is made by many species of bacteria, but not by animals or plants. It is synthesized by soil bacteria, enters plants from the soil and thus enters human diets. It has been detected in every sample of fruits and vegetables tested, at levels 5–10 times higher than in human tissues and fluids. 

Moreover, PQQ is an important plant growth factor imported from rhizobacteria and it is a powerful antioxidant and is much more stable than ascorbic acid.

The health benefits of PQQ in humans have been reviewed recently, including for diabetes, antioxidant activity, neuroprotection, cognition and lowering the levels of C-reactive protein (inflammation). In addition, PQQ supplementation improved antioxidant potential and decreased the levels of mitochondrial-related intermediates and metabolites in urine, providing support for previous studies that demonstrated that PQQ improved mitochondrial efficiency. PQQ is promising as a longevity vitamin in humans.

Queuine💊🔬

Queuine is a 7-deazaguanine derivative present in bacteria, which are unique in their ability to synthesize it and pass it on to plants and animals. Detectable amounts of queuine have been identified in tomatoes, wheat, coconut water, and milk from humans, cows and goats. Humans and mice recover queuine from either ingested food or the gut flora. It has been suggested that queuine should be classified as a putative longevity vitamin. 

Queuine deficiency in human cells results in a reduced level of the cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4). The essentiality of BH4 for the hydroxylation of tryptophan to produce serotonin could be of relevance to numerous neurological conditions, especially considering serotonin’s role as a social hormone controlling executive function, and its relevance to autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, bipolar and schizophrenia.

A recent key paper shows also that queuine and a synthetic analog have been proven effective in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis in eliciting full remission from the disease.

Thanks for reading 

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PS: if you want to monitor your aging journey just buy AgeCurve’s test 🚀📲📱 and remember: “if you take care of things they last”.