Cross-Sectional Analysis of Telomere Length in People 33-80 Years of Age: Effects of Dietary Supplementation
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Friday, April 24, 2015 12:00 AM

Telomere length has been associated with aging, age-related diseases, adverse conditions, and mortality. Moreover, studies in humans suggest a causal role of short telomeres or accelerated telomere shortening in disease and mortality risk. The objective of the current cross-sectional study was to explore the effect of dietary supplementation on telomere length.

The results of this cross-sectional study suggest that dietary supplementation significantly attenuated telomere shortening in subjects compared to a healthy control group. Longitudinal studies are warranted to further explore the link between nutritional supplementation and healthy aging in the context of reduced rate of telomere shortening.

The normal range of telomere lengths was determined from saliva samples in a population of healthy, non-smoking subjects aged 33-80 from the San Francisco Bay Area who took no more than 3 supplements daily. The telomere lengths of heavy supplement users, the majority of whom took more than 12 Shaklee supplements at least 4 days per week, were compared to the age-matched control group. Telomere length was measured by quantitative PCR to determine the telomere-to-single copy gene (T/S) ratio. Change in T/S ratio over time was fitted to a linear regression. Blood biomarkers were also assessed.

Overall, women had longer telomeres than men in the control group, but this trend was reversed in the supplement group. T/S ratio of the supplement group was 11.2% greater than that of the control group. Supplementation resulted in a greater treatment effect in men vs. women. By linear regression, the rate of change in T/S ratio was reduced by 40% in the supplement group vs control. Blood biomarkers in both groups were comparable and were within the normal physiological ranges.