Meat and Nicotinamide: A Causal Role in Human Evolution, History, and Demographics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • College of Medicine and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK; University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2GW, UK; Department of Neurology, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham, B18 7QH, UK.
  • Neuroscience and Ophthalmology Research Group, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Abstract

Hunting for meat was a critical step in all animal and human evolution. A key brain-trophic element in meat is vitamin B3 / nicotinamide. The supply of meat and nicotinamide steadily increased from the Cambrian origin of animal predators ratcheting ever larger brains. This culminated in the 3-million-year evolution of Homo sapiens and our overall demographic success. We view human evolution, recent history, and agricultural and demographic transitions in the light of meat and nicotinamide intake. A biochemical and immunological switch is highlighted that affects fertility in the 'de novo' tryptophan-to-kynurenine-nicotinamide 'immune tolerance' pathway. Longevity relates to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide consumer pathways. High meat intake correlates with moderate fertility, high intelligence, good health, and longevity with consequent population stability, whereas low meat/high cereal intake (short of starvation) correlates with high fertility, disease, and population booms and busts. Too high a meat intake and fertility falls below replacement levels. Reducing variances in meat consumption might help stabilise population growth and improve human capital.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
JournalInternational Journal of Tryptophan Research
Volume10
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2017