The list of micronutrients that are essential to our lives should be expanded, according to US microbiologist and Nobel Prize contender Bruce N. Ames. In a recent publication of his, the inventor of the Ames test characterizes eleven lesser-known substances that, according to him, are indispensable for a healthy aging. In addition to taurine, these include the fungal antioxidant ergothioneine, the bacterial metabolites pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) and quinone, the plant antioxidants carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, α- and β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin and the marine carotenoid astaxanthin. Ames attributes a dual role to the essential micronutrients: they are not only indispensable for the human organism because they ensure survival, but also protect against long-term illnesses and premature aging. So far, research has focused mostly on the immediate life-sustaining aspect of vitamins and minerals, the scientist said. But it is also necessary to consider the long-term effects of a micronutrient deficiency or to use the life-prolonging power of many micronutrients to age healthier.
BN Ames. Prolonging healthy aging: Longevity vitamins and proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published ahead of print October 15, 2018, available at https://www.pnas.org/content/115/43/10836 and additionally https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/suppl/2018/10/09/1809045115.DCSupplemental/pnas.1809045115.sapp.pdf