Background: 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.
Objective: The objective was to examine whether multivitamin use is associated with longer telomeres in women.
Design: Cross-sectional analysis of data from 586 early participants (ages 35 to 74 years) in the Sister Study [a study that involves 50,000 female enrollees whose biological sister was diagnosed with breast cancer but who have never had breast cancer themselves].
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.
Conclusion: This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence that multivitamin use is associated with longer telomere length among women.
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jun 2009; PMID: 19279081, by Xu Q, Parks CG, DeRoo LA, Cawthon RM, Sandler DP, Chen H. Epidemiology Branch, National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carollina; Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; Supported by NIH Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Concept Award. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]