Vitamins are essential to every part of our body’s functioning. In other words, if you want to live a long time and have a good quality of life, you need to make sure you’re fully stocked. There’s even been research (https://www.pnas.org/content/115/43/10836) into what are known as longevity vitamins, specifically looking at their long-term impact.
Not getting enough essential vitamins is depressingly common in America. This doesn’t mean we’re all developing scurvy or rickets because it’s not necessarily a severe deficiency. A milder lack of vitamins may not cause obvious health problems immediately, but it does mean your body is not working at its best.
The theory goes that if we have a mild deficiency in a certain vitamin, it might not make us actively ill, but it does force the body to make certain decisions about what to prioritize. Immediate survival is more important than long-term health, so all the vitamins we do consume go to supporting the most essential biological processes.
That’s all very well and good, but there are bodily processes that we don’t need every day but that are still vital for maintaining our health and repairing smaller problems. Without them, we may find ourselves aging prematurely, experiencing more illness and injury, and in the worst cases, even dying at a younger age than we would otherwise.
According to this theory, our focus should not just be on getting enough vitamins to survive, but optimizing our vitamin intake so we can thrive. The best way to do that is to have a balanced diet full of lots of different fruits and vegetables, as well as oily fish (which also contains important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids). Sometimes, we may need to take supplements to give us a boost, but food remains the most important source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
As for which vitamins are most important if you’re seeking longevity, you really need all of them. Vitamin A, C, D, E and K are all vital, as are various types of B vitamins. There are also minerals and other organic compounds, like taurine, that you need in plentiful supply if you want your body to age at its best.
While it’s important to consider your health here and now, it never hurts to look to the future. Upping your vitamin intake now may be the best thing for your longevity.