Nutrients such as folate and vitamin B12 are essential for healthy metabolic processes and well known for reducing oxidative stress. New research however, is targeting these nutrients for their role in the prevention of cellular ageing by influencing telomere length.
Telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes, preserving genome stability and making sure healthy cellular replication occurs. Telomeres naturally shorten during each cell division until they become too short to replicate causing accelerated cellular ageing and associated age-related diseases.
Telomere shortening can be partially rescued by telomerase, as enzyme which adds nucleotides to the ends of the chromosomes preserving their integrity. Research also points to specific nutrients promoting telomere optimisation, by reducing oxidative stress and ‘wear and tear’. Folate and vitamin B12 are of particular interest because they influence nucleotide synthesis and DNA stability.
According to a recent 2019 study on 5581 adults, folate and vitamin B12 improved telomere structure and function and therefore biologic ageing.
Several other studies have concluded that diet and lifestyle strongly influence cellular ageing. Specifically, more alkaline diets higher in vegetables, fruits and lower consumption of red meat or processed meat and sweetened soft drinks were associated with telomere length.
Lee, J. Y., Jun, N. R., Yoon, D., Shin, C., & Baik, I. (2015). Association between dietary patterns in the remote past and telomere length. European journal of clinical nutrition, 69(9), 1048-1052.
Boccardi, V., Paolisso, G., and Mecocci, P. (2016). Nutrition and lifestyle in healthy ageing: the telomerase challenge. Ageing, 8(1), 12–15. doi:10.18632/ageing.100886
Tucker, L. A. (2019). Serum and Dietary Folate and Vitamin B12 Levels Account for Differences in Cellular Aging: Evidence Based on Telomere Findings in 5581 U.S. Adults. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2019, 1–10. doi:10.1155/2019/4358717