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Telomere length as a biomarker of accelerated aging

is it influenced by dietary intake?

Freitas-Simoes, Tania-Marisaa; Ros, Emilioa,b; Sala-Vila, Aleixa,b

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: November 2018 - Volume 21 - Issue 6 - p 430–436
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000506
NUTRITION AND PHYSIOLOGICAL FUNCTION: Edited by Labros S. Sidossis and Annemie M.W. Schols

Purpose of review There is increasing interest in exploring whether age-related diseases can be prevented by dietary means through nutrients or food bioactives, whole foods, or specific dietary patterns. Because of the slow nature of the aging process, biomarkers such as telomere length are helpful for this purpose. Here we update the developments in the area during the last 2 years.

Recent findings Most data stem from epidemiologic studies, often cross-sectional in design. Recent articles strengthened the link between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and telomere shortening, whereas a novel association between telomere length and drinking coffee has been uncovered. Controversy on meat consumption and telomere length persists, mostly because of the presumed different effects of total meat and processed meat. In general terms, increasing consumption of antioxidant-rich plant foods relates to maintained telomere length. Feeding intervention trials with outcomes on telomere length are few and thus far have contributed little to further knowledge on this topic.

Summary Epidemiologic studies provide support for the putative effects of diet components on telomere length and on the aging process in general. Dietary associations with telomere length should be confirmed with adequately powered randomized controlled trials.

aInstitut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Barcelona

bCiber Fisiopatología de Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Madrid, Spain

Correspondence to Aleix Sala-Vila, PhD, Clínica de Lípids, Hospital Clínic, Villarroel 170, Edifici Helios, despatx 8, 08036 Barcelona, Spain. Tel: +34 932275400x2276; fax: +34 934537829; e-mail:

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