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To Your Health

Another Result of Stress: Part II

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03/01/2011 - Howdy Folks! This month's article is a follow up to last month's regarding our discussion about telomere length but unfortunately there was more information that I wanted to discuss so this article had to be divided -- sorry. Here's a quick review: When our cells divide, our DNA's end caps (called telomeres) will shorten. Stresses to the body will quicken this, thus shortening the cell life. Consequently, our lives will also shorten.

Now I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seats waiting for the answer to the fountain of youth and it's not plastic surgery. As I learned looking at patients bodies, the saying, "It's not the years but the miles," can be applied to our bodies' cells. Also, it is a little more complicated than people might want to discuss, but the focus of this article is supplementation. S00000, let's get back to point.

In a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2009, called "Multivitamin use and Telomere length in women" micronutrients which multivitamin supplements provide were evaluated as to how they affect oxidative stress (free-radical damage) and chronic inflammation.

The authors noted the following in their study: .

"Because telomere attrition (wearing away) may eventually lead to chromosomal instability and cell death, excessive telomere shortening may play an important role in the development of some chronic disease"

Shorter telomeres have been linked to higher mortality, accelerated aging, and higher risk of some chronic diseases. (Here we go!)

Inflammatory reactions induce oxidative stress. (Important -- this can include conditions like pain, allergic reactions, and bad diets.)

"The use of multivitamin supplements was associated with longer telomere length. Compared with nonusers, daily users had on average 5.1% longer telomeres." This difference corresponds to 9.8 years of related telomere loss. (Wow!)

Significantly longer telomeres were associated with both once-a-day and/or antioxidant combination type of supplementation.

Those that took antioxidant combination type multivitamins for more than 5 years increased telomere length by 8%. (That would be about 12 years of effect if you hadn't).

Vitamin B-12 supplement users had a 5.9% longer telomere length than did nonusers.

Telomere length was not increased with taking stress-tab or B-complex type of supplements.

Iron users had a shorter telomere length than nonusers (interesting).

Micronutrient intake from foods was generally not related to telomere length, except vitamins C and E (very interesting).

Among those who did not use multivitamins, higher dietary intakes of beta-carotene, folate, magnesium, and vitamins C and E, and A were associated with longer telomere length.

Higher vitamin D was associated with longer telomere length.

Higher plasma homocysteine is associated with shorter telomere length. (This is measured in lab work that some say is a measure of inflammation in your body.)

Okay, so now you're asking what this all means. Well you probably noticed that it did not say that you can gain telomere length by having steak and potato diet, though a small (key word) piece of meat and part of a potato is okay with a big pile of fresh veggies to along side. (Yes man, eat your broccoli.) Also, eating fruit is important, not just a serving of fruit but at least 2-3 servings a day. This will obviously change your snack habits. And for those who say that they can't have fresh vegetables because of digestion issues, take your fresh vegetables and steam them but save the water, let it cool and drink it. The vitamins will be in the water and, as you know, you're supposed to be drinking lots of water daily.

Well, I hope to finish this subject next month. Remember your vitamins and plenty of fruits and vegetables. See Ya!

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Chris Walsh

Casper In Home Care LLC

Ark Animal Hospital

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