1. On the face of it, Weston Price’s “primitives” would seem to shout “no”. They were over-nourished if anything.
2. But consider three things:
(A.) As we age, our ability to make certain (all?) so-called non-essential nutrients declines, making all such nutrients conditionally essential. Who could possibly consume enough of all of these? This is death by a slow nutrient starvation (cf. my books – Maximum Irony).
(B) Multi-cellular (organismal) nutrition presents special problems. Gametes can be preferentially nourished since they are individual cells and there are a limited number of such cells. This may be partly responsible for the observation that gametes have better maintenance and repair functions. As an organism develops, grows, and ages, special problems are created by nutrient deficiencies in the multicellular organism. Which cells get what and how much of each nutrient? Given shortfalls, which housekeeping functions are down-regulated in which cells? Aside from the brain, which is preferentially nourished, what about everything else? Whatever organs/systems are short-changed would conceivably decline more rapidly in function. The interdependent loss of function in organs/systems can in principle account for the observed 2x increase in mortality about every 8 years (the Gompertz relationship – see Maximum Irony).
(C) There may be many required nutrient levels that cannot be reached by consumption of whole foods. For example, if there is a function that requires a gram or more of vitamin C and all of the corresponding vitamin C cofactors present in whole foods. Of all of Pauling’s arguments for a daily requirement of vitamin C in excess of one gram the most compelling is the fact that goats, which are about our size, make about 13 grams of vitamin C a day. If nutritionists are correct that we (and presumably goats) need only about 60 mg of vitamin C per day, then goats are making about 200 times more vitamin C than they need. If the rule is that biological organisms do not make 200 times more of anything than they need, and this is not an exception (such as a vestige in evolution), there may be a function that requires grams of vitamin C in goats. Is there in humans? Or have humans made better use of the entire antioxidant network to reduce the requirement of vitamin C to what can normally be supplied by whole foods?
If (A), (B), (C) are true, then perhaps with concentrated extracts of a complete set of nutrient supplements (essential and V3), one could live far beyond 120 years. Forever?
The problem one is fighting is that the efficiency of delivery of nutrients to each individual cell in a multicellular organism is the product of many imperfectly efficient processes:
(1) The nutrient density of the foods * (2) the disaggregation efficiency in the stomach * (3) the digestion efficiency * (4) the absorption efficiency in the intestines * (5) the distribution efficiency in the blood stream * (6) the cellular uptake efficiency * (7) the intracellular distribution efficiency.
And to think how many people eat low nutrient density foods and interfere with the disaggregation efficiency in the stomach with acid blockers. Are we mad?