An Isotope a Day

The quest for the ultimate longevity diet never seems to stop fascinating scientists. Chemistry & Industry, a magazine published by the Society of Chemical Industry, reports that researchers have figured out how the average omnivore can extend her life span—this time without drinking red wine or resorting to any of that difficult calorie restriction business. The secret: isotope-enhanced food.

When essential nutrients are delivered with a dose of isotopes—forms of those nutrient elements containing a different number of neutrons than the standard version—the body becomes more resistant to oxidation and pesky free radicals, which have long been known to cause aging. The nutrients we get from animal products (say, for example, tryptophan) tend to be the ones that cause the most free-radical buildup. So the study’s lead scientist suggests that by adding isotopes to animal feed—thereby “enriching” the animals’ meat, milk, and eggs—we might be able to instantly negate some of the damage done when we wolf that giant steak or pint of ice cream. Oh, the gluttonous possibilities!

Don’t hold your breath, though: Whether isotope-packed meats would taste the same and behave the same way in cooking is uncertain, as the researchers themselves admit. I, for one, am willing to shave a few years off my life if it means I still get to enjoy the delicious effects of the Maillard reaction on my cheese sandwiches.

See more articles
Share this article: