Adequate Dietary Can Lengthen Life

Adequate Dietary Can Lengthen Life And Prevent Disease

Dr. Henry C. Sherman, of Columbia University, predicted recently that seven years can be added to the average length of human life by a diet adequate in four essentials.

He cited postponement of senility as another advantage of what he described as “optimum” eating of calcium; protein; vitamin A, which promotes growth; and vitamin G, known particularly as a preventer of pellagra.

The chemistry professor reported on experiments which he conducted, chiefly with rats, as research associate of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, under whose auspices he spoke.

He declared that addition of amounts of the four essentials above the level necessary for normal life and reproduction had “expedited growth and development, brought a higher level of adult vitality, and extended the average length of adult life, or improved the life-expectation of the adult.”

Dr. Sherman explained that facts ascertained in his research can be readily applied to human beings since the chemistry of rat nutrition is closely similar to that of man in almost every respect.

He found that a mixture of five-sixths whole wheat and one-sixth dried whole milk, plus table salt and distilled water, was adequate for life and health. However, the addition of small amounts of the four essentials resulted in increased vitality and longevity.

“The increase in average length of adult life here found is equivalent to an extension of the long-standing human-adult life expectation of 70 years to 77 years instead,” Dr. Sherman declared.

Improvements in length of life heretofore have been largely confined to lowering the early death rates, leaving the average length of adult life unchanged, he added, and for this reason extension of the life-span by nutritional improvement is of great interest.

“And it is all the more significant because of the fact that, in these experiments, development is expedited and senility deferred in the same individuals, so that what, for lack of a better term, we may call ‘the period of the prime’ is extended in greater ratio than the life-cycle itself.” Dr. Sherman said.

“Thus in typical cases the same degree of incipient senility which is reached by normal individuals on diet A (adequate diet) at an age corresponding to about 65 years in the human life is deferred on diet B (optimum diet) to an age corresponding to 75 to 80 years.”

He added that these nutritional improvements “lower the death rates of the young as well as of the middle-aged and old, so that the life expectation at birth is improved even more than is that of the adult.”

Human experience with these optimum diets has shown that increasing the proportion of “protective” foods “acts to support superior development in children and a greater number of years of ‘positive’ or ‘buoyant’ health in adults,” the Carnegie associate said.

“The historical and ‘field’ evidence together indicate very clearly that the onset of senility is deferred of the incidence of the so-called degenerative diseases decreased when the so-called protective foods are give a more prominent place in the dietary,” he added.