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Condition - Could multivitamins turn the biological clock back?

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) Dip CNM MBANT

According to a new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the cells of multivitamin users may have a younger biological age than cells of those who don’t take a daily multi.

The ageing and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to small sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome called telomeres. Each time the cell replicates the telomeres shorten and when the telomeres are totally consumed, the cells are destroyed. This shortening mechanism limits cells to a fixed number of replications. However, previous studies have shown that free radicals can also damage and shorten telomeres, accelerating the biological ageing process. 

During this new study, Dr Chen and his co-workers analysed multivitamin use, nutrient intakes and telomere length in 586 women aged between 35 and 74. Compared to non-multivitamin users, the researchers noted that telomeres were, on average, 5.1% longer for daily multivitamin users. It is postulated that the multivitamins may beneficially affect telomere length by modulating oxidative stress and chronic inflammatory process, which lead to free radical damage.  

Article References

H Chen et al. “Multivitamin use and telomere length in women”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Jun 2009. 89(6):1857–1863

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