In normal cells, telomeres shorten with each cell division during typical aging. Telomere shortening or attrition represents a molecular clock that limits the replicative capacity of normal cells. Decreased telomere length has been linked with several diseases including cancer. Shortened telomeres have also been associated with oxidative stress, inflammation, psychological stress and lack of sleep. Oxidative stress may be a major cause of telomere shortening.
Antioxidants, such as those found in Viniferamine supplements, can help decrease oxidative stress including oleuropein from olives, trans-resveratrol from grapes, EGCG from green tea, curcumin from turmeric, sulforaphane from broccoli and melatonin.
Chronic inflammation is also thought to result from oxidative stress, and is associated with many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Furthermore, short telomeres have been linked with diseases associated with chronic inflammation, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
Psychological Stress & Sleep Duration Factor
Short telomeres have also been associated with chronic psychological stress. Adults experiencing chronic stress have impaired immune responses, as well as elevated levels of chronic inflammation. Psychological stress increases the risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.
In addition, shorter durations in sleep have been associated with shorter telomere lengths. Disruption of the regular sleep-wake cycle, which is regulated by the circadian rhythm, is reported to affect immune functions, and sleep deprivation has been shown to increase circulating levels of inflammatory markers. Increasing evidence also suggests that rotating night shifts and sleep deprivation are potential risk factors for metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The Mediterranean diet (which includes high amounts of antioxidants from olives and grapes) has been associated with longer telomeres. In addition, other antioxidants and certain vitamins have been linked with longer telomeres. For example, the antioxidant curcumin has been associated with potential increases in telomere length and EGCG from green tea has been found to inhibit telomere attrition.
Interestingly, higher serum levels of and treatment with vitamin D are associated with longer telomeres. The antioxidant melatonin can help decrease oxidative stress and sleeping difficulties, vitamin D helps decrease inflammation and B vitamins such as B12 and folate can help decrease psychological stress; all help to improve conditions associated with short telomeres. The length of telomeres has been correlated with age-related morbidity and mortality risks, but the right diet or supplementation with specific antioxidants and vitamins may help preserve telomere length and decrease aging and disease.
Nancy Ray, PhD, is the Science Officer at McCord Research. Dr. Ray received her PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics and was a postdoctoral fellow at NIH, Harvard University and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the University of Iowa. For more information and the whitepaper that corresponds to this synopsis please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.