ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
CANCER
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
DIET, NUTRITION
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
EYE CARE, VISION
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
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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