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Traditional multivitamins are designed to prevent deficiencies that are known to affect our health—vitamin C to prevent scurvy, for example. But we need additional nutrients to prevent premature aging and chronic disease, according to Bruce Ames, PhD, director of the Nutrition & Metabolism Center at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and author of more than 500 scientific articles.
“Prolonging good health while aging is an important issue in a world with large increases in life expectancy,” writes Ames in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition to the essential vitamins and minerals commonly found in multivitamins, Ames has identified 11 “longevity vitamins”—other nutrients that are necessary for a healthy, long life.
Although lack of these nutrients won’t manifest as a deficiency in the short term, says Ames, it does reduce the ability of a human body to function well and disease-free over the course of a long lifespan.
Did you know?
PQQ has been shown to be effective at improving brain function, but the best results have occurred when PQQ is combined with CoQ10.
11 Longevity Vitamins
The 11 nutrients identified by Ames as crucial for a long, healthy life, plus where to find them.
- Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ): Available in energy and brain formulas and in standalone supplements, but not in multivitamins.
- Taurine: In some protein powders and standalone supplements.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin: In eye-health formulas and standalone supplements.
- Lycopene and astaxanthin: In standalone supplements and carotenoid formulas.
- Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin: In carotenoid formulas.
- Ergothioneine: Not available in supplements, this antioxidant is found chiefly in mushrooms.
- Queuine: Found in many plant foods, as well as in milk. Queuine is also made by gut bacteria, but is not available in supplements.