What are the nutritional implications on telomere length and repair?
An inflammatory diet, or one that increases oxidative stress, will shorten telomeres faster. This includes refined carbohydrates, fast foods, processed foods, sodas, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and saturated fats. A diet with a large amount and variety of antioxidants that improves oxidative defense and reduces oxidative stress will slow telomere shortening. Consumption of 10 servings of fresh and relatively uncooked fruits and vegetables, mixed fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish, and high quality vegetable proteins will help preserve telomere length. In addition, it is advised to reduce total daily caloric intake and implement an exercise program. Fasting for 12 hours each night at least 4 days per week is recommended.
What lifestyle modifications are likely to be helpful?
One should achieve ideal body weight and body composition with low body fat (less than 22 % for women and less than 16 % for men). Decreasing visceral fat is very important. Regular aerobic and resistance exercise for at least one hour per day, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night, stress reduction, discontinuation of all tobacco products are strongly recommended. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may decrease the rate of telomere loss.
Control all known coronary heart disease risk factors to optimal levels
- Reduce LDL cholesterol to about 70 mg %, decrease
- LDL particle number and increase LDL particle size.
- Reduce oxidized LDL.
- Increase HDL to over 40 mg % in men and over 50 mg % in women and increase HDL 2 subfraction. Reduce inflammatory HDL and increase protective HDL.
- Reduce fasting blood glucose to less than 90 mg % and 2 hour post prandial or 2 hour GTT to less than 110 mg %. Keep Hemoglobin A1C to about 5.0% and keep insulin levels low.
- Reduce blood pressure to about 120/ 80 mm Hg
- Reduce homocysteine to less than 8 um/L
- Reduce HS-CRP to less than 1.0
- Maintain ideal body weight and composition.
- Stop smoking.
- Treat insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
Overall recommendations to maintain telomere length
Some clinicians have recommended reducing all known coronary risk factors, inflammation, oxidative stress, ADMA levels and angiotensin II levels or its action. At the same time, therapy should increase nitric oxide levels and nitric oxide bioavailability, increase arginine, increase endothelial progenitor cells, improve mitochondrial function and increase oxidative defenses. In addition, one should optimize hormone levels, exercise, sleep, nutrition and nutritional supplements. Fasting and caloric restriction should be part of the regimen as well.
What role will nutritional supplements play in slowing telomere shortening?
Oxidative stress will shorten telomere length and cause aging in cellular tissue. Antioxidant supplements can potentially reduce oxidative stress very effectively, which will ultimately improve oxidative defenses, mitochondrial function, reduce inflammation and slow vascular aging. Targeted supplementation is key, as antioxidants work synergistically and must be balanced to work most effectively and avoid inducing a pro-oxidant effect. Increasing antioxidant capacity at the cellular level is critical to maintaining telomere length.
Recent evidence suggests that a high quality and balanced multivitamin will also help maintain telomere length. Specifically, studies have linked longer telomeres with levels of vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant resveratrol. In addition, homocysteine levels have been inversely associated with telomere length, suggesting that reducing homocysteine levels via folate and vitamin B supplementation may decrease the rate of telomere loss. Similarly, conditions such as cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis and even dementia affect telomere length. Correcting subclinical nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to such diseases is crucial for telomere maintenance.
Additionally, there is a new telomerase enzyme product called Telezyme. This product has been formulated with the actual telomerase enzyme and so it should help rebuild and maintain your telomeres.
Below is a listing of the full text papers as well as their corresponding abstracts:
- Leukocyte Telomere Length and Cardiovascular Disease in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Read this paper...
- Telomere Length Trajectory and Its Determinants in Persons with Coronary Artery Disease: Longitudinal Findings from the Heart and Soul Study. Read this paper...
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