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Multivitamins Linked to Longer Telomere Length

Last Updated: May 25, 2009.

Women who take multivitamins may have longer leukocyte telomere length, suggesting that multivitamin usage may help slow the aging process, according to a study first published in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

MONDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Women who take multivitamins may have longer leukocyte telomere length, suggesting that multivitamin usage may help slow the aging process, according to a study first published in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Qun Xu, Ph.D., of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 586 women enrolled in the Sister Study, which includes the healthy sisters (ages 35 to 74 years) of breast cancer patients.

After adjusting for age and other factors, the researchers found that multivitamin users had leukocyte telomeres that were 5.1 percent longer than nonusers. They also found that women who consumed more foods rich in vitamins C and E had longer telomeres regardless of whether or not they took multivitamins.

"Individuals who consume vitamin supplements and eat vitamin-rich food are more likely to follow a healthy way of living," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "Indeed, the multivitamin users in the Sister Study smoked less, had a lower body mass index, were more educated, and were physically more active than nonusers. Thus, to replicate the findings linking leukocyte telomere length with vitamin intake, future work must focus on cohorts that are not only more representative of the general population than the Sister Study cohort but also address the confounding by lifestyle."

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