Researchers discovered that regular ingestion of multivitamins can reduce inflammation that leads to disease and biological aging. They determine this by gauging the length of the patient’s Telomeres, which are highly repeated DNA sequences on the ends of chormosomes that protect them from degradation. Every time a cell replicates, its telomere gets shorter, eventually causing cell death. Measuring telomere length is an indicator of cellular aging, and research demonstrates that shortened telomeres are responsible for many of the normal processes of aging. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and dementia have strong associations with shorter telomeres.
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The aging and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to the so-called telomerase shortening mechanism, which limits cells to a fixed number of divisions. During cell replication, the telomeres function by ensuring the cell’s chromosomes do not fuse with each other or rearrange, which can lead to cancer. Elizabeth Blackburn, a telomere pioneer at the University of California San Francisco, likened telomeres to the ends of shoelaces, without which the lace would unravel.
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With each replication the telomeres shorten, and when the telomeres are completely consumed, the cells are destroyed (apoptosis). Previous studies have also reported that telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative stress.
It is also noted that telomere length may therefore be a marker of biological aging, and that multivitamins may beneficially affect telomere length via modulation of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.