[Note: The data indicate the majority of the tea consumed by the study subjects was (antioxidant-rich) green tea. Telomeres are protective DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes in our cells that shorten as the cell divides/ages, are also highly susceptible to oxidative stress, and are considered a marker of biological aging. When the telomere is totally used up, the cell can no longer replicate and is destroyed.]
Environmental and lifestyle factors that affect oxidative stress and inflammation may influence telomere length (TL). There are limited data to relate the effect of dietary components on telomere length. The present study examined the association between food groups and telomere length in a sample of elderly Chinese.
In a sample of 2,006 Chinese (976 men and 1,030 women) aged 65 years and over, telomere length was measured by quantitative real-time PCR, and daily intake of food groups was assessed by a validated FFQ. Linear regression and analysis of covariance were used to examine the association between food group intake and TL, with adjustment for demographic and lifestyle factors.
• In men, only Chinese tea consumption was significantly associated with telomere length after adjustment for demographics and lifestyle factors (P = 0.002).
• Mean difference in telomere length for those in the highest quartile of Chinese tea consumption (more than 3 cups/d or more than 750 ml/d)
• As compared with those in the lowest quartile of Chinese tea consumption (equal to or less than 0.28 cups/d or equal to or less 70 ml/d) was 0.46 kilobases, corresponding to approximately a difference of 5 years of life.
• In women, intake of fats and oils was borderline and negatively associated with telomere length after adjustment for demographic and lifestyle factors (P = 0.037).
In conclusion, Chinese tea consumption was positively associated with telomere length in elderly Chinese men.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition, Aug 12, 2009. Chan R, Woo J, Suen E, Leung J, Tang N. Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Centre for Osteoporosis Care and Control, Department of Chemical Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]