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HomeBlogDoes Dieting Affect Telomere Length?

We at Biohackr Health are science-based, and we aren’t just here to sell you potions. We are here to help you learn how to increase longevity.

And sometimes that’s as easy as being aware of what you eat.

This was a study in Advanced Nutrition November 2019, “Plant Rich Dietary Patterns, Plant Foods and Nutrients, and Telomere Length.”  The thought was that many plants have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so eating them would help telomeres. This study summarizes findings from the studies looking at four factors: 1) a plant-rich diet; 2) a Mediterranean diet; 3) a Seed-based diet (nuts, grains, coffee); 4) carotenoids.

In the past, they tried to isolate certain compounds to figure out what helped anti-aging the best; however, this isn’t realistic. People eat a mixture of foods mixed together. So now they focus on more broad areas, such as plant-rich foods, a mediterranean diet, etc. The study was great in that they summarized many prior studies which showed consistently that a plant-based diet helped preserve telomere length.

  • Korea, 1958 people: Higher consumption of legumes, nuts, and seaweed were associated with longer telomere length
  • China, 553 people: Plant-rich diet helped telomere length in women, no association in men.
  • Iran, 300 people: telomere length associated with adherence to healthy and traditional dietary patterns, with a negative association seen with a Western dietary pattern.
  • Italy, 217 people : Mediterranean diets have longer telomeres and higher telomerase activity compared with those who have a lower adherence.
  • US studies: There were multiple studies with thousands of participants which showed eating a Mediterranean diet was associated with longer telomeres, as well as a higher Alternative Healthy Eating Index. No associations for the prudent or Western dietary patterns. One study I found interesting said this only applied to Caucasians, with no improvement in telomeres seen in African Americans and Hispanics. There was a study with almost 5,000 people that showed coffee helped preserve telomere length.
  • There were a bunch of studies which did not show a correlation of telomere length with dieting, too.
  • If interested in looking at this study, click here.

They conclude there are many published articles on diet and its effect on telomere length. They postulate that there is oxidative stress which shortens telomeres, and the plant-rich antioxidant foods are fighting this. They did not know of a study on vegan or vegetarian populations. Also, they have not found a study to look at if your telomere length can be modified by eating plants. Could it lengthen telomeres? Just slow telomere shortening? Regardless, they conclude that eating a plant-rich diet is a “universal, cheap, and safe tool to obtain significant health benefits.”

How can Biohackr Health help?

TEST! Where are your telomeres currently? Do our diagnostic telomere testing to see where you stand. You can then makes dietary changes and see if that helps. We are trying to bring science to this anti-aging arena. Testing, changing your diet or habits or weight, and then re-testing gives you insight into what is effective.

The Science of Anti-Aging

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