Nutrient deficiencies and aging

Someone asked if nutrient deficiencies could accelerate aging a while ago, sorry I forgot who. But anyway, here’s a late answer!


Awesome video. Here are some of the papers mentioned:

Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage

Although many results are not definitive and much more research is needed, a large literature suggests that micronutrient inadequacy can lead to cancer and other long-term deleterious consequences. I present a triage theory that explains why these consequences might be expected. Short-term RCTs using end points associated with long-term disease, such as DNA damage and inflammatory markers, are likely to identify populations at risk and further refine levels of micronutrients required for optimum long-term health. Micronutrient inadequacies are widespread in the population, and a MVM supplement is inexpensive. A solution is to encourage MVM supplementation, particularly in those groups with widespread deficiencies such as the poor, teenagers, the obese, African Americans, and the elderly, in addition to urging people to eat a more balanced diet.

Vitamin K, an example of triage theory: is micronutrient inadequacy linked to diseases of aging?

The functional spectrum of vitamin K viewed through the lens of the triage theory may provide a helpful way to think about the potential effects of vitamin K1 deficiency on age-associated disease. Vitamin K1 is an excellent example of a micronutrient for which the severe and immediate clinical consequences of deficiency (bleeding) have dominated its history. This is also the case for almost all other micronutrients—eg, vitamin C and scurvy, thiamine and beriberi, niacin and pellagra, or vitamin D and rickets. In recent years, more probing scientific investigation has begun to unearth subtle long-term health effects of modest deficiencies of many micronutrients, some of which we have previously discussed (eg, references 1, 342–346). The triage theory supplies a unifying framework explaining why a crop of diseases associated with aging is emerging for so many micronutrients. It is our hope that this analysis will stimulate further efforts to redefine micronutrient adequacy on the basis of long-term effects. Methods to determine optimal micronutrient intakes on the basis of long-term needs should allow recommended intakes to be set more accurately and with less reliance on uncertain safety factors. The result may be decreased intake recommendations for some micronutrients and increased recommendations for others. This greater certainty should stimulate more aggressive public health efforts to remedy deficiencies.

Adaptive dysfunction of selenoproteins from the perspective of the triage theory: why modest selenium deficiency may increase risk of diseases of aging

In this review and in our previous analysis of vitK (3), predictions of the triage theory (1, 2) were largely borne out. If the theory is generally predictive of how the body manages modest V/M shortages for the thousands of V/M-dependent proteins, it has important implications for public health. The most obvious value of the theory is that it provides a rationale for why a particular class of V/M-dependent proteins (i.e., those that are nonessential) may not be fully functional even at modest levels of V/M deficiency not accompanied by any obvious clinical signs. The value of this insight is that it suggests a strategy for identifying sensitive biomarkers of V/M deficiency and candidate proteins mechanistically linked to disease. An important limitation of broadly applying the approach followed here is that mouse KOs are not necessarily reliable predictors of essentiality in humans (e.g., Sepp1 in this analysis) because of many species differences, some known (e.g., refs. 293, 294) and some as yet unknown. The most fruitful strategy is likely to be a combined approach, one that takes advantage of insights gained from mouse KO phenotypes (and human homozygous mutants when available) but that also employs more direct means to assess protein or mRNA hierarchies in people (e.g., refs. 9, 295).

The CHORIbar looks interesting (similar to Soylent, but a supplement instead of a food), but it doesn’t appear to be commercially available yet. CHORIbar history.


I appreciate you adding all this! The CHORlbar caught my eye too. I really like how its just blemished and “imperfect” foods being “recycled”. On the other hand, it would be nice if suppliers and grocers would just… yknow… give their imperfect food to the hungry. I mean even waste management can be expensive right? This radical charity idea could be a win-win for everyone.

1 Like

What is the effect on lifespan? If I eat enough fruits and vegetables, will I be immortal?

1 Like

Yes, but there can be only one.