Vitamins and Minerals Effects on Aging

Date Aired: May 5, 2017


Episode Description

Dr. Ames will discuss his research on the role of vitamins and minerals in health and aging. Through his theory of triage, when nutrition is lacking, the body puts its resources into every day activities at the expense of DNA and damaged protein repair. Each junk food meal sacrifices protein and DNA repair which eventually leads to DNA damage and chronic diseases. Caloric restriction, mitochondria health and obesity are as well as vitamins and minerals that promote longevity will be discussed.

  • There is a relationship between diet and aging.
  • The body needs about Thirty Substances which includes vitamins and approximately 15 minerals.


  • 2000 of these reactions require zinc
  • 400 – 500 need magnesium
  • The body can not make these minerals so we need to get them from the diet
  • Without these substances, metabolism the brain and muscles do not work.


  • 45 % population inadequate in magnesium
  • Is the center of chlorophyll molecule in every plant

vitamin D

  • Vitamin D 3 is a steroid hormone that controls 1000 genes
  • People with dark skin have lower levels of vitamin D. They do well with tropical sunshine.
  • If people don’t get sunshine, they should take vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin K 

  • important in blood clotting
  • Wound, healing is a complex interaction between proteins and clotting


  • required
  • Too much is toxic


  • Catalyze (facilitate) a reaction
  • One quarter of enzymes require a cofactor
  • Many cofactors are vitamins
  • Without enzymes, we are lethargic as body does not function well.
  • ½ enzymes for protecting us (e.g., calcification of arteries


  • Organisms in the body that make energy
  • Are 400- 500 in every cell
  • Are complicated need enzymes
  • energy is called ATP made in mitochondria by by pulling and burning electrons from fuel sugar, fat then add to oxygen
  • If add four electrons to oxygen, it results in water
  • If only add one oxygen at a time, get nasty oxidants
  • Oxidation causes damage to the body including to the DNA
  • Brain uses 20 % of the energy that we make
  • Mitochondria not working correctly throw off excess electrons that go around looking for things to oxidize


  • Chronic inflammation and Oxidative stress leads to DNA damage which can eventually lead to cancer.
  • Lipids oxidize to make nasty compounds that react with DNA as well.
  • There are enzymes protect DNA
  • Repair enzymes see a “bump” (caused by oxidation) and copies the opposite strand to fix the oxidized damaged bump.
  • The body has a triage system to protect vital functions first.
  • When there are insufficient nutrients, vital functions will be preserved, but protection of DNA is the first activity to be sacrificed.
  • We can measure inflammation, as one measure of aging, with crp (C reactive Protein) and homocysteine are measures of inflammation,


  • At each meal in which the diet is not balanced, the body triages to preserve vital functions but sacrifices DNA repair
  • This means that eating poorly at a meal is sacrificing long term health for short term health
  • What leaving out of diet is almost more important than what you add
  • It is important to eat a varied diet with vegetables not to eat cake or sugary drinks
  • Most premature aging is due to bad diets
  • Nutrition is science of aging
  • Northern Europe had cows 10 million years ago. Many  developed a way to use lactose as most adults back then were lactose intolerant


  • 1/3 of the US is obese
  • Occurs from eating lots of empty calories
  • accelerates all disease (cancer heart disease, immune dysfunction)


  • Plants defend them selves by making toxic chemicals to kill off predators
  • He believes that eating some man made pesticides and GMOs cause no harm
  • He believes that flame retardants and second had smoke are minor compared to not getting enough nutrients


  • interferes with calcification so don’t get blood clots
  • increases risk of calcification of arteries


Random clinical studies double blind studies are good for drugs but not nutritional supplements.  The individual nutrient availability and deficiencies are not considered.  It is important to do the studies on persons who are nutrient deficient.


  • Multivitamins
  • Omega 3 supplements for membrane fluidity