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The Triage Theory — Prolonging Healthy Aging by Optimizing Intake of Longevity Vitamins and Minerals

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

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  • The levels of vitamins and minerals required to diminish disease may not be the same as the levels required to optimize longevity; in many cases, the recommended intake for vitamins may be insufficient for longevity
  • Bruce Ames’ “triage theory” postulates that when a cell becomes short on a vitamin, it starts to ration it, favoring protein enzymes essential for immediate survival and reproduction over those that help prevent long-term diseases such as cancer and heart disease
  • Other nutrients that appear particularly important for longevity include ergothioneine, an amino acid primarily produced in mushrooms, NAC, NAD, carotenoids, choline, acetyl L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid and taurine
  • Getting the right ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is also important for optimal health, especially heart and brain health. The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats ranges from 1-to-1 to 1-to-5

In this interview, Bruce Ames, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California Berkeley, currently senior scientist at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, discusses the importance of vitamins and minerals for longevity and explains his "triage theory" of nutrients.

Ames was born two weeks after my dad, who passed away earlier this year, so he is 90 years old. He developed the famous and widely used Ames test, which tests the mutagenicity of compounds. In recent years, he's shifted from his work in mutagenicity to focusing on nutrition for healthy aging. He recently published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on this topic.

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