A study of data from 586 female participants in a breast cancer patient research survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health found on average 5.1% longer telomeres in daily users of multivitamins than in nonusers. Increased telomere length was associated with one a day and antioxidant formula use, and vitamin B12 use. Vitamins C and E from food were also noticed to protect against loss of telomeres. Iron supplements were associated with shorter telomeres. Increased telomere length was not associated with use of stress tabs or vitamin B complex.
The study data came from women, but may be inferred to apply to males as well. As the researchers said, ‘This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence that multivitamin use is associated with longer telomere length among women.” Dietary questionnaires were part of the research and collected information on food intake and use of nutritional supplements. Participant blood samples were analyzed for white blood cell DNA telomere length, which could be a marker of biological aging. Antioxidants have also long been shown to reduce oxidative stress and chronic inflammation – two things that can contribute to shortening telomeres.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on March 11, 2009 and was conducted at the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.
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