Telomeres are the protective nucleic acid and protein caps on the ends of chromosomes and are a key to healthy aging. Because telomeres help maintain the stability of our DNA, they are critical in controlling cellular aging and death (1).
In the simplest terms, when telomeres get short, bad things happen. At Isagenix, we feel addressing your cellular health is an essential part of our Healthy Aging Solution and is part of the reason we feature Product B® to support the health of telomeres.
Now a new study published in the journal Metabolism has provided an update on how certain nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns affect telomere length (2). For anyone concerned about the aging process, identifying simple strategies to help delay age-associated telomere shortening is of prime importance.
Researchers of the review noted that dietary antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and consumption of antioxidant-rich, plant-derived foods help maintain telomere length, whereas saturated fat intake, refined flour cereals, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with shorter telomeres (2). Based upon the recent review, here are some of the top ways you can support your telomeres:
1. Boost Healthy Fat Intake
There is considerable evidence tying the amount and type of fat you eat to biological processes implicated in accelerated aging (3). For example, omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines display beneficial properties and are suggested to protect against premature telomere shortening (2). In line with this notion, one report found an inverse association between baseline blood levels of omega-3 and the rate of telomere shortening (4).
2. Get Adequate Antioxidants and Nutrients
Telomeres are particularly sensitive to oxidative stress; therefore, it is possible that adequate intake of antioxidants and antioxidant-rich foods may provide protection against oxidative stress-induced telomere shortening (5, 6). In fact, increasing the intake of beta-carotene, folic acid, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, and C are each associated with longer telomere length (7, 8).
The most prominent direct association of increased telomere length is the consumption of seeds, legumes, nuts, and coffee (9). This is likely explained by the richness in antioxidant compounds found in these products. There are also direct associations with the consumption of fruits and vegetables like peppers, carrots, spinach, and seaweed (9 – 12).
3. Limit Alcohol Use
It’s no secret that alcohol abuse leads to earlier onset of age-related diseases. Consistent with this fact, a case-control study conducted in Italian men reported decreased telomere length in alcohol abusers compared to social drinkers (2). On the other hand, there is abundant epidemiological evidence suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption (up to one drink per day for a woman and up to two drinks per day for a man) could be beneficial for overall health, particularly for supporting cardiovascular health (13). Being sensible is the best advice here.
4. Cut The Junk
Shorter telomeres are associated with increased consumption of red and processed meats (9, 14). Furthermore, consumption of sugar-sweetened soda was associated with shorter telomeres in a large American cohort of over 5,000 adults (15) and similar results were found in a large cohort of Korean adults (9). Bottom line: excessive consumption of junk foods like sodas and highly processed meats are not going to support telomeres.
5. Take Product B
As part of the Healthy Aging Solution, Isagenix offers Product B as a proprietary formula of potent antioxidant bioactive, botanicals, and vitamins to support the health of telomeres. Antioxidants are the body’s primary mechanism against oxidative stress, which is a primary source of telomere damage (2). It is specifically developed to help support telomere health. In fact, recently Product B has been independently investigated to evaluate its effects on antioxidant defense systems essential for maintaining healthy telomeres and reducing cellular aging.
In this research, scientists found that Product B supplementation to healthy humans increased the level of a major antioxidant enzyme in the body known as catalase by 30 percent compared to a placebo supplement. The major function of catalase in cells is the removal of excessive and toxic amounts of hydrogen peroxide, which is particularly damaging to telomeres. In fact, elevation of catalase activity has been associated with increased longevity in experimental models of aging (16, 17).
- López-Otín C, Blasco MA, Partridge L & Serrano M, Kroemer G. The hallmarks of aging. Cell. 2013 Jun 6; 153(6):1194-217.
- Freitas-Simoes TM, Ros E & Sala-Vila A. Nutrients, foods, dietary patterns and telomere length: Update of epidemiological studies and randomized trials. Metabolism. 2016 Apr; 65(4):406-15.
- Poudyal H & Brown L. Should the pharmacological actions of dietary fatty acids in cardiometabolic disorders be classified based on biological or chemical function? Prog Lipid Res. 2015 Jul; 59:172-200.
- Farzaneh-Far R, Lin J, Epel ES, Harris WS, Blackburn EH & Whooley MA. Association of marine omega-3 fatty acid levels with telomeric aging in patients with coronary heart disease. JAMA. 2010 Jan 20; 303(3):250-7.
- Von Zglinicki T. Oxidative stress shortens telomeres. Trends Biochem Sci. 2002 Jul; 27(7):339-44.
- Houben JM, Moonen HJ, van Schooten FJ & Hageman GJ. Telomere length assessment: biomarker of chronic oxidative stress? Free Radic Biol Med. 2008 Feb 1; 44(3):235-46.
- Xu Q, Parks CG, DeRoo LA, Cawthon RM, Sandler DP & Chen H. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun; 89(6):1857-63.
- Sen A, Marsche G, Freudenberger P, Schallert M, Toeglhofer AM, Nagl C, Schmidt R, Launer LJ & Schmidt H. Association between higher plasma lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C concentrations and longer telomere length: results of the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Feb; 62(2):222-9.
- Lee JY, Jun NR, Yoon D, Shin C & Baik I. Association between dietary patterns in the remote past and telomere length. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Sep; 69(9):1048-52.
- Tiainen AM, Männistö S, Blomstedt PA, Moltchanova E, Perälä MM, Kaartinen NE, Kajantie E, Kananen L, Hovatta I & Eriksson JG. Leukocyte telomere length and its relation to food and nutrient intake in an elderly population. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec; 66(12):1290-4.
- Marcon F, Siniscalchi E, Crebelli R, Saieva C, Sera F, Fortini P, Simonelli V & Palli D. Diet-related telomere shortening and chromosome stability. Mutagenesis. 2012 Jan; 27(1):49-57.
- Chan R, Woo J, Suen E, Leung J & Tang N. Chinese tea consumption is associated with longer telomere length in elderly Chinese men. Br J Nutr. 2010 Jan; 103(1):107-13.
- Ronksley PE, Brien SE, Turner BJ, Mukamal KJ & Ghali WA. Association of alcohol consumption with selected cardiovascular disease outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2011 Feb 22; 342:d671.
- Nettleton JA, Diez-Roux A, Jenny NS, Fitzpatrick AL & Jacobs DR Jr. Dietary patterns, food groups, and telomere length in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Nov; 88(5):1405-12.
- Leung CW, Laraia BA, Needham BL, Rehkopf DH, Adler NE, Lin J, Blackburn EH & Epel ES. Soda and cell aging: associations between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and leukocyte telomere length in healthy adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Am J Public Health. 2014 Dec; 104(12):2425-31.
- Cutler RG. Oxidative stress and aging: catalase is a longevity determinant enzyme. Rejuvenation Res. 2005 Fall; 8(3):138-40.
- Schriner SE, Linford NJ, Martin GM, Treuting P, Ogburn CE, Emond M, Coskun PE, Ladiges W, Wolf N, Van Remmen H, Wallace DC & Rabinovitch PS. Extension of murine life span by overexpression of catalase targeted to mitochondria. Science. 2005 Jun 24; 308(5730):1909-11.