Background: Vitamin D is a potent inhibitor of the proinflammatory response and thereby diminishes turnover of leukocytes. Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is a predictor of aging-related disease and decreases with each cell cycle and increased inflammation.
Objective: The objective of the study was to examine whether vitamin D concentrations would attenuate the rate of telomere attrition in leukocytes, such that higher vitamin D concentrations would be associated with longer LTL.
Design: Serum vitamin D concentrations were measured in 2,160 women aged 18-79 y (mean age: 49.4) from a large population-based cohort of twins. LTL was measured by using the Southern blot method.
Results: Age was negatively correlated with LTL (r = -0.40, P < 0.0001). Serum vitamin D concentrations were positively associated with LTL (r = 0.07, P = 0.0010), and this relation persisted after adjustment for age (r = 0.09, P < 0.0001) and other covariates (age, season of vitamin D measurement, menopausal status, use of hormone replacement therapy, and physical activity; P for trend across tertiles = 0.003).
The difference in LTL between the highest and lowest tertiles of vitamin D was 107 base pairs (P = 0.0009), which is equivalent to 5.0 y of telomeric aging. This difference was further accentuated by increased concentrations of C-reactive protein, which is a measure of systemic inflammation.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that higher vitamin D concentrations, which are easily modifiable through nutritional supplementation, are associated with longer LTL, which underscores the potentially beneficial
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007 Nov;86(5):1420-1425. effects of this hormone on aging and age-related diseases. PMID: 17991655, by Richards JB, Valdes AM, Gardner JP, Paximadas D, Kimura M, Nessa A, Lu X, Surdulescu GL, Swaminathan R, Spector TD, Aviv A. From Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, St Thomas’ Hospital, King’s College, London School of Medicine, London, United Kingdom.