Your diet plays an important part in your ability to take care of your body. That, in turn, has an impact on your lifespan and general quality of life. Eating enough is one part of it, but levels of nutrition in that diet are more important.
So, if you want to live a long and healthy life, as most do, here’s what you need to know about the vitamins you need to consume. Let’s take a look.
Nutrition And Longevity
The connection between nutrition and the length of your life is quite direct. There are a few obvious factors one must keep in mind. Here’s what they are.
1. Increase In Energy Levels
If you’ve ever paid close attention to your food habits, you would have noticed that some foods give you instant energy while others make you feel lazy. Consuming food that is rich in nutrients will give you more energy and the ability to stay active.
2. Avoid Gaining Excess Weight
Next up is your size. It’s not about getting to size zero because, as we now know, that’s not the same as being healthy. But, on the other hand, you don’t want to gain unnecessary weight because that puts you at the risk of obesity which brings its own set of problems.
Controlling food that has a lot of calories and low levels of nutrition is a good way to keep tabs on your weight. This kind of lifestyle will keep you healthy and automatically avoid life-threatening diseases.
3. Decrease In Inflammation
Eating foods that are rich in certain antioxidants, minerals and vitamins can help avoid chronic inflammation. This protects the cells in our body from oxidative stress. That, in turn, reduces inflammation and lowers the risk of life-shortening health conditions.
So, which vitamins are we specifically talking about? Let’s see.
Best Vitamins For Longevity
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the first one on our list not just because of its importance but also because of how easy it is to get this. Also called the sunshine vitamin, this one is present in sunlight and has a whole range of health benefits that can push your mortality further away.
It is also found in orange juice, dairy items, swordfish and salmon. It is one that a lot of Americans and Brits don’t get according to experts, but it is important for immunity and bone health among other benefits.
You only need between 4,000 IU and 10,000 IU (international units) per day. In the case of vitamin D, 1 mcg is 40 IUs. A vitamin D deficiency means you will need more than that but you must talk to a medical expert or functional doctor before making a decision on getting supplements.
2. Vitamin C
Then there is vitamin C that studies have linked to a reduced mortality rate. Most of these are related to individuals who have heart conditions which, studies show, is still topping the charts as a cause of death in the US.
A study on 11,348 adult men has shown that subjects who took the maximum amount of vitamin C were able to reduce their mortality rate by 42 percent compared to those who took the least in the group.
Among women, the chances of death were reduced by 10 percent. So, the study concluded that men who took the most of the vitamin increased their life expectancy by six years and for women that figure was one year.
Supplements of vitamin C are also known to help increase the human lifespan and also maintain good health. Surveys show that individuals who take supplements regularly often have vitamin C in the mix.
There are other studies that have shown the same in terms of longevity. This is reportedly because of the vitamin’s ability to reduce the impact of problems like smoking or a background of health conditions.
3. Vitamin B6
There is more than one B vitamin that plays a critical role in slowing down the natural process of aging. This happens because these vitamins take care of your brain, heart and bones which are majorly impacted over time.
B vitamins are important because they are responsible for metabolizing an amino acid called homocysteine.
The first of those B vitamins that you should pay attention to is the water-soluble pyridoxine, better known as vitamin B6. It is found in many foods like legumes, eggs, brown rice, milk, yeast and yogurt to name a few. There are also supplements that can provide B6 if you need them.
But the thing that helps measure the amount of B6 in the human blood is a coenzyme called PLP or pyridoxal 5 phosphate. It is responsible for over 100 enzymes to do their job. This includes breaking down carbs, fats and vitamins in the body, maintaining homocysteine, maintaining the health of the brain and overall immunity.
An increase in homocysteine levels are linked to gray matter activity in the brain which could lead to bone problems, Alzheimer’s and heart problems.
4. Vitamin B9 Or Folate
Vitamin B9 or folate is important in forming red blood cells and helps carry oxygen to different parts of the body. In its synthetic form, folate is called folic acid and can be obtained in supplements in combination with other vitamins.
In its organic form, you will find folate in dark leafy veggies, beans, peanuts and whole grains. It is also found in pasta, breads, flour and more.
B9 is important to avoid complications in pregnancy and also birth defects that affect the spine and the brain. But in others, it helps prevent deficiencies and high homocysteine levels which can cause heart problems and strokes in individuals with kidney conditions.
It can also be used in the treatment of cognitive disorders that affect thinking and memory. Apart from that, B9 is also used to treat depression and toxicity that is the result of consuming a drug called methotrexate.
The regular recommendation is 600 to 800 mcg but those who are at the risk of other health conditions might need 4,000 to 5,000 mcg on a daily basis.
5. Vitamin B12
And finally there is vitamin B12. This is the last of the B vitamins that is important for a long and healthy life. It is also called cobalamin and is something the human body cannot produce on its own. So, you need to get it from your diet.
That’s not a concern because it is available in many animal products like tuna, trout, beef, clams and animal kidney and liver. It is also available in other food items like fortified cereal, yogurt, cheese and low fat milk. Vegans can get them from plant-based milk, fortified soy, tempeh, chlorella and nori seaweed.
Vitamin B12 is responsible for helping nerve cells function normally. It is also required for DNA synthesis and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is also responsible for boosting energy, avoiding heart problems and improving memory.
Adults are required to consume 2.4 mcg every day but pregnant and breastfeeding individuals will need more. They should consult a doctor for the specifics.
Best Vitamins For Longevity: Wrapping Up
When it comes right down to it, you will need to consume vitamins B6, B9, B12 along with vitamin C and D if you are keen on keeping tabs on health conditions that can reduce your lifespan significantly.
Of course, you also need to lead an active and healthy lifestyle to make sure that none of these conditions, especially those related to the heart and brain, find a way to attack you.
As you can see, vitamin D is probably the easiest to get. But that doesn’t mean you take a stroll in the afternoon. This is best obtained by getting about 20 minutes of sun in the morning from 8 to 10 am.