According to a new study, nutritional supplements containing multivitamins may help women live longer by preventing parts of their DNA from shortening.
The research was conducted by a team from the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences who analyzed data from 586 women, including those who had breast cancer and their cancer-free siblings.
During the course of the study, the women were asked about their use of vitamin supplements over a 12-year span.
“We found that multivitamin use was associated with longer leukocyte telomeres,” says lead researcher Dr. Honglei Chen, head of the aging & neuroepidemiology group at the institute.
Telomeres are the end sections of chromosomes which protect them from damage. However, they shorten slightly when cells divide, and researchers believe that process may be associated with aging and disease.
“Compared with nonusers, daily multivitamin users had, on average, 5.1 percent longer leukocyte telomeres,” he adds.
The scientist also stresses that vitamins C and E from diet appear to be associated with longer telomeres.
The report will appear in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.