Vitamin and Mineral Inadequacy Accelerates Aging-Associated Diseases
Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (lecture)
Bruce N. Ames
Most of the world’s population, including that of the U.S., are moderately deficient in one or more of the ~30 essential V/Ms. Moreover, since the damage from moderate deficiency is insidious, its importance for long-term health is not being appreciated. Strong support for triage theory comes from Joyce McCann’s analyses of the literature on proteins dependent on vitamin K (3) and on selenium (4). Both have built into metabolism this trade-off between short-term survival and long-term health and each uses a different mechanism to accomplish this end. Theory and evidence suggest that this metabolic trade-off accelerates aging-associated diseases, such as cancer, cognitive decline, and cardiovascular disease. Importantly, by the official U.S. Institute of Medicine measure of inadequacy, the EAR (Estimated Average Requirement; the RDA is set at 2 SD above the EAR), most of the U.S. population is below the EAR for one or more V/M. Taking these long-term triage effects into account in setting EARs could lead to numerous changes.