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Eating Vitamin and Mineral-Rich Foods May Slow Aging

A recent study suggests that eating a lot of vitamin and mineral-rich foods in early adulthood may slow the biological process of aging, as measured by leukocyte telomere length. Telomeres are the protective “cap” on the end of chromosomes that protect them from unraveling. Damaged telomeres equal damaged DNA, which has been linked with shorter lifespans.


Participants in the study included 1,948 Korean men and women who were between the ages of 40 and 69 at the beginning of the study. The participants were followed for 10 years. At the beginning of the study, researchers collected dietary information using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed consumption of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, and E, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, and zinc.


After adjusting for potential confounders, the researchers found that leukocyte telomere length was positively associated with consumption of vitamin C, folate, and potassium. They found no association between leukocyte telomere length and the other nutrients.


The researchers then conducted an age-stratified analysis. They found that vitamin C, folate, and potassium were only positively associated with telomere length in participants who were under the age of 50 at the beginning of the study. This suggests that earlier consumption of vitamin C, folate and potassium may delay biological aging.


Researchers from Kookmin University and Korea University Ansan Hospital, both in Korea, conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 22, 2016, in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.


The human body requires essential minerals and vitamins for every process and function. Deficiencies of minerals and vitamins can lead to fatigue, illness and disease. A balanced daily diet generally provides the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.

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