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Faster Biological Aging May Raise Risks of Age-Related Diseases

Posted Apr 10 2013 10:09pm
Posted on April 8, 2013, 6 a.m. in Mechanisms of Aging Autoimmune Cancer Cardio-Vascular

An international team of scientists led by the University of Leicester (United Kingdom) reports evidence that links faster biological aging – as measured by shortened telomere length – to the risk of developing age-related diseases – including heart disease, multiple sclerosis and various cancers.  The study involved scientists in 14 centers across 8 countries, in which researchers measured telomere lengths in over 48,000 individuals and looked at their DNA and identified seven genetic variants that were associated with telomere length. The scientists found that the variants were indeed linked to risk of several types of cancers including colorectal cancer, as well as diseases like multiple sclerosis and celiac disease. Most interestingly, the authors found that in aggregate the seven variants also associated with risk of coronary artery disease which can lead to heart attacks, lending them to conclude that: “Our findings support a causal role of telomere-length variation in some age-related diseases.”

Veryan Codd, Christopher P Nelson, Eva Albrecht, Massimo Mangino, Joris Deelen, Nilesh J Samani, et al.  “Identification of seven loci affecting mean telomere length and their association with disease.”  Nature Genetics 45, 422-427; 27 March 2013.

  
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Tip #145 - Mind the Micronutrient
An essential trace element which is necessary for growth and protein synthesis, selenium acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radical damage that may contribute to aging and many age-related diseases. Johns Hopkins University of Public Health (Maryland, USA) researchers studied more than 13,800 subjects for 12 years, and found that a modest selenium level, between 130 and 150 ng/mL, associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Be sure to incorporate selenium-rich foods into your daily diet. Brazil nuts are the richest dietary source of selenium. The mineral is also found in organ meats, tuna, seafood, brewer's yeast, fresh garlic, mushrooms, wheat germ, and some whole grains.
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