- The levels of vitamins and minerals required to diminish disease may not be the same as the levels required to optimize longevity, and in many cases, the recommended intake for vitamins may be insufficient for longevity
Omega-6s and omega-3 fats are Key for healthy aging.
As noted by Bruce Ames, PhD, Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California Berkeley, currently senior scientist at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, as follows:
“My former postdoc, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, recently published a beautiful paper. The genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease is a gene called Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4). If you have that 1 copy of that gene, you have 3X the risk of Alzheimer’s. If you have 2 copies, you have 15X the risk.
If you have 1 copy and you get a concussion, then you are going to get Alzheimer’s.
It is really important.
She worked out the mechanism, showing it has to do with transporting omega-3 into the brain as the fatty acid.
That blood-brain barrier deteriorates with age. By the time you get old like me the system for bringing that into the brain isn’t working very well. She marshals the evidence that that’s what is causing Alzheimer’s.”
The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats ranges from 1-to-1 to 1-to-5, but the typical Western diet tends to be between 1-to-20 and 1-to-50.
Most people, especially Americans, are guilty of this lopsided omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, and to correct it, you typically need to do 2 things, they are:
- Significantly decrease intake of damaged omega-6 by avoiding processed foods and foods cooked in vegetable oil at high temperatures. Common sources of harmful omega-6 to avoid include corn oil, canola oil, soy oil, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, margarine and shortening.
- Increase your intake of animal-based omega-3 fats. Ideal sources include small fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies and herring, along with wild-caught Alaskan salmon, or a supplement such as krill oil.
In his paper Dr. Ames rank-orders the nutrients in terms of importance, many of which people tend to be deficient in, based on the estimated average requirement (EAR).
- Vitamin D — 70% of people do not get enough based on the EAR
- Vitamin E — 60% of people do not get enough based on the EAR
- Magnesium — 45% of people do not get enough based on the EAR
That said, the EAR criterion is not an optimal amount, even for disease prevention, as it does not take long-term health into account.
Evidence now suggests an ideal vitamin D level is between 60 and 80 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), which means probably 85 to 90% of the population are deficient.
Vitamin D is primarily obtained from Sun exposure. It is called the Sunshine vitamin because when ultraviolet (UV) light hits our skin, the cholesterol derivative is converted into active vitamin D. It is a really important steroid hormone that plays an important role in gene activation.
Dr. Ames himself admits taking “lots of vitamins,” but has also eaten a healthy natural diet most of his life.
Ideally, we would get most of our vitamins and minerals from our diet. Magnesium, for example, is found in the center of the chlorophyll molecule, so leafy greens is a good source.
Similarly, folic acid comes from the Latin word “folia,” which means leaf. A scientist at Caltech 1st isolated folic acid from 4 tons of Spinach,” he said, adding the clarification, “Folate just means the salt, and folic acid is the acid.” I get mine from arugula and mussels, cannot imagine having to eat even a ton of Spinach.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively