Multivitamin use and telomere length in women

Epidemiology Branch, National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 04/2009; 89(6):1857-63. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26986
Source: PubMed


Telomere length may be a marker of biological aging. Multivitamin supplements represent a major source of micronutrients, which may affect telomere length by modulating oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
The objective was to examine whether multivitamin use is associated with longer telomeres in women.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data from 586 early participants (age 35-74 y) in the Sister Study. Multivitamin use and nutrient intakes were assessed with a 146-item food-frequency questionnaire, and relative telomere length of leukocyte DNA was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
After age and other potential confounders were adjusted for, multivitamin use was associated with longer telomeres. Compared with nonusers, the relative telomere length of leukocyte DNA was on average 5.1% longer among daily multivitamin users (P for trend = 0.002). In the analysis of micronutrients, higher intakes of vitamins C and E from foods were each associated with longer telomeres, even after adjustment for multivitamin use. Furthermore, intakes of both nutrients were associated with telomere length among women who did not take multivitamins.
This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence that multivitamin use is associated with longer telomere length among women.

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Available from: Lisa A. DeRoo
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    • "Similarly, LTL of women 35–74 years-old reporting multivitamin use was on average 5.1% longer than that of nonusers. When analyzing nonusers separately, increasing intakes of β-carotene, folic acid, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, and C from the customary diet were each associated with longer LTL [32]. Finally, in a population of 786 older (mean age 66 y) subjects from Australia, higher plasma lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C concentrations directly correlated to LTL [33] "
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    ABSTRACT: Identifying simple strategies to prevent or delay age-associated pathologies is a major public health concern. Attrition of telomeres, chromatin structures that help maintain genome stability, leads to cell death or senescence. Thus telomere length is a reliable hallmark of biological aging and the risk of developing age-related chronic diseases through common oxidation and inflammation mechanisms. Variability in telomere shortening that is independent of chronological age suggests that it is a modifiable factor, which may be explained in part by lifestyle variables such as smoking, adiposity, physical exercise, and diet. Here we summarize data from published studies focused on nutrition (nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns) and telomere length. Research on the topic is incipient and most data comes from epidemiologic studies, often cross-sectional in design. Consistent with well-known evidence of benefit or harm for chronic age-related diseases, dietary antioxidants and consumption of antioxidant-rich, plant-derived foods help maintain telomere length. In contrast, total and saturated fat intake and consumption of refined flour cereals, meat and meat products, and sugar-sweetened beverages relate to shorter telomeres. Data on alcohol and dairy products is controversial. There is evidence that adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with longer telomeres. Randomized clinical trials are limited to seafood-derived long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, with promising results. To fill the many gaps in our knowledge of the aging process and confirm nutrition as a useful tool to counteract biological aging more research is warranted, particularly observational studies using repeated measurements of telomere length and randomized trials of foods and dietary patterns with sequential telomere analyses.
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    • "High free radical levels accelerate telomere shortening sometimes unknowingly be exposed to rapid telomere shortening and accelerated ageing. While studies with iron supplementation among women have showed decreases in TL (Xu et al., 2009), other studies with the human hepatocyte cell line L-02 have shown a slight increase in TL at low concentrations of iron (Liu et al., 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress can be induced by increased concentrations of iron in the body and consequently can cause shortening of telomeres. Telomeres, called mitotic clocks, are non-coding fragments at the end of chromosomes. During the replication of genetic material they are shortened, playing the role of ageing biomarkers in eukaryotes. In human endothelial cells, oxidative stress causes a decrease in telomerase activity. Shortening of chromosomes in telomeric parts was found in patients with primary hemochromatosis and in patients taking supplements containing iron. Increased level of transferrin saturation is associated with the presence of shorter telomeres in the chromosomes of leukocytes. The relationship between iron status and telomere length is still not fully understood.
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    • "Supplementation with vitamin E could also explain the positive effects seen on telomere dynamics in this study. Dietary intakes of vitamin E were associated with longer telomeres in humans (Xu et al., 2009), and in vitro experiments in human skin fibroblasts demonstrate that vitamin E restores telomerase activity and protects against telomere erosion (Makpol et al., 2010). The reduction in telomere loss may be the result of an increased antioxidant capacity. "
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