ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Cane Use May Cut Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
CANCER
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
CAREGIVING
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
Eating Less May Slow Aging Process
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function
EYE CARE, VISION
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
FITNESS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Add your Article

Multivitamins Might Prolong Life

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Multivitamins may help women live longer by preventing parts of their DNA from shortening, a new study has found.

Telomeres, or the end portion of chromosomes, protect chromosomes from damage. Because telomeres shorten slightly when cells divide, researchers speculated that preventing this shortening could protect new cells and thus reduce the effects of aging.

"This study provides the first epidemiological evidence that multivitamin use is associated with longer leukocyte telomeres among women," said lead researcher Dr. Honglei Chen, head of the Aging & Neuroepidemiology Group at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "It is not yet clear if this association is causal."

The report appears in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

For the study, Chen's team analyzed data on 586 women participating in the Sisters Study, which included women who had breast cancer and their cancer-free siblings. As part of that study, the women were asked about their use of vitamin supplements over a 12-year span. The researchers also took blood samples and tested DNA.

"We found that multivitamin use was associated with longer leukocyte telomeres," Chen said. "Compared with nonusers, daily multivitamin users had, on average, 5.1 percent longer leukocyte telomeres."

This corresponds to about 9.8 years less age-related telomere shortening, the researchers noted.

Vitamins C and E from diet also were associated with longer telomeres, Chen said.

But, whether the vitamins preserved telomere length or actually lengthened life is not clear, Chen said.

"We could not exclude the possibility that the association could be explained by a healthy lifestyle," he said. "Although shorter telomere length has been linked to higher mortality and higher risk of chronic diseases, it is premature to conclude that multivitamin use is associated with slower aging process."

The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, thinks there are mixed messages about the value of taking vitamins, and until there is some definitive science on the issue, taking them is a personal decision.

"Most recent studies of vitamin supplements have yielded discouraging results," Katz said. "This study clearly goes the other way, suggesting that a multivitamin may help protect our chromosomes, and thus ourselves, from aging."

There are important limitations to the study, Katz noted. For one, vitamin use was observed, not assigned. "Perhaps healthier people less prone to the effects of aging were also the ones more likely to take vitamins," he added.

In addition, the health effects of slightly longer telomeres are not well-established, Katz said. "In looking at the details of the study, it becomes clear that telomere length did not go up consistently with vitamin exposure; the most frequent use of multivitamins was not associated with the longest telomeres."

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more on healthy aging.



SOURCES: Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., head, Aging & Neuroepidemiology Group, U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; David Katz, M.D., director, Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; June 2009, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Last Updated: May 18, 2009

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