Following a healthy diet slows aging
cell because the natural shortening
of telomeres can be prevented by following a diet pattern rich in fruits
and vegetables such as the Mediterranean diet, as revealed by a study of the Biomedical Research Center in Pathophysiology Network
of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN).
The research, carried out by experts attached to the Human Nutrition Unit of the Rovira and Virgili University and the Pere i Virgili Health Research Institute, has consisted of a review of all epidemiological investigations and clinical trials in humans present in the scientific literature to date, assessing the relationship between the consumption of certain foods, nutrients or the global diet and the length of telomeres. The research has been led by the researchers Sílvia Canudas and Serena Galié, both members of the team Jordi Salas-Salvadó, and has been published in the scientific journal Advances of Nutrition.
The review includes 59 observational studies and 11 clinical trials, selected from a bibliographic search carried out in a methodical and organized way to be able to identify, separately, the relationship of each group of food, nutrients and different dietary patterns with telomeric health.
Different clinical studies of multi-vitamin supplementation have investigated the role of these compounds in telomere length, but failed to establish a clear protective function, although, among the studies reviewed by the researchers, Vitamin C seems to have a greater impact among the micro-nutrients evaluated.
Consumption of foods with a high antioxidant content, such as nuts and coffee, has been associated with longer telomeres. On the contrary, a high consumption in processed meat and sugary drinks It seems to be related to shorter telomeres. When the results of the studies that assessed the overall pattern of the diet were analyzed, it was observed that healthy diets, which include high content in fruits, vegetables, nuts, among other foods, source of antioxidants, were associated with less telomeric shortening. Therefore, this suggests that a Healthy diet would help slow the aging of our cells.
As the researchers of the CIBEROBN, the health of telomeres and the consequent prevention of cell aging implies a multifactorial process in which different factors come into play. Controlling these dietary factors affects the benefit of human health, preventing age-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, as well as neurodegenerative diseases.
This research is contextualized taking into account that one of the main approaches of scientific research on aging is the possibility of extending life expectancy with quality. One way to contribute to this is to protect the cell aging process by modulating the length of telomeres, whose discovery won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009. These are long repeated DNA sequences that protect the limbs of chromosomes from their natural shortening. and can be considered as the biological clock of cell life, since its length decreases as we age.
As the Nobel Prize states Elizabeth Blackburn, when comparing telomeres with reinforcements that are placed on the end of shoelaces, «The longer these reinforcements are, the less likely the cord will be frayed. As for the chromosomes, the longer the telomeres, the less likely the alarms in the cells will be ”.
Galiè S *, Canudas S *, Muralidharan J, García-Gavilán J, Bulló M, Salas-Salvadó J. Impact of Nutrition on Telomere Health: Systematic Review of Observational Cohort Studies and Randomized Clinical Trials. Adv Nutr. 2019 Nov 5. (* same contribution)