Poster @ American College of Nutrition's 55th Annual Conference
Calvin B. Harley, PhD (1); Joanne Chan, BS (1); Marsha Blauwkamp, PhD (1);
Francis C. Lau, PhD, FACN (2); Jamie F. McManus, MD, FAAFP (2);
Drew Watson, PhD (1); Evangelos Hytopoulos, PhD (1); and
Bruce P. Daggy, PhD, FACN (2) .
(1) Telomere Diagnostics Inc., Menlo Park, CA;
(2) Shaklee Research Center, Pleasanton, CA.
Jump to Editorial Comment
Why was this study done? |
Telomeres are extensions of DNA strands that protect the integrity of our genetic information. The length of telomeres is thought to be a reflection of physiological age (and not chronological age) and biomarker of overall health status. This study was designed to explore the effects of long-term supplementation on telomere length.
What This Study Found
Long-term supplement users (over five years), had increased telomere length (11.2 %) when compared to controls who were not supplementing.
Telomere length has been associated with aging, age-related diseases, adverse conditions, and mortality. Moreover, studies in humans suggest a causal role of short telomeres or accelerated telomere shortening in disease and mortality risk. A previous cross-sectional study has shown that Shaklee supplement usage significantly improved various health parameters and nutritional status.  The objective of the current cross-sectional study was to explore the effect of dietary supplementation on telomere length.
The normal range of telomere lengths was determined from saliva samples in a population of healthy, non-smoking subjects aged 33-80 from the San Francisco Bay Area (control group; n=324; 147 males and 177 females) who took no more than 3 supplements daily. The telomere lengths of heavy supplement users (supplement group; n=80; 21 males and 59 females), the majority of whom took more than 12 Shaklee supplements at least 4 days per week, were compared to the age-matched control group. Disease and smoking status were not exclusion criteria for the supplement group. Telomere length was measured by quantitative PCR to determine the telomere-to-single copy gene (T/S) ratio. Change in T/S ratio over time was fitted to a linear regression. Blood biomarkers were also assessed.
Overall, women had longer telomeres than men in the control group, but this trend was reversed in the supplement group. (Refer to
Figures 3 & 4 below) T/S ratio of the supplement group was 11.2% greater than that of the control group (p<0.0001). Supplementation resulted in a greater treatment effect in men vs. women (p<0.005). By linear regression, the rate of change in T/S ratio was reduced by 40% in the supplement group vs control. Blood biomarkers in both groups were comparable and were within the normal physiological ranges.
The results of this cross-sectional study suggest that heavy Shaklee dietary supplementation significantly attenuated telomere shortening in subjects compared to a healthy control group. Longitudinal studies are warranted to further explore the link between nutritional supplementation and healthy aging in the context of reduced rate of telomere shortening.
1) Control group San Francisco Bay Area healthy male and female non-smokers aged 30-80 who took no more than 3 (generic) supplements daily.
2) Supplement group male and female supplement users aged 30-80 who took at least 5 Shaklee supplements 4-6 times weekly for at least 5 years regardless of their health and/or smoking status. Participants in this group were from all regions of the country.
1) Control group recruited through agreements with local companies who agreed to advertise the study and allow their employees to participate at the workplace by sending email flyers from HR department. Other residents in the Bay area were recruited through, newspaper and radio advertisements, fliers and craigslist ads.
2) Supplement group recruited at the Shaklee 2012 Leadership Conference held in San Francisco.
1) Control group healthy men and women aged 30-80 residing in SF Bay Area who were English-speaking and willing to sign the informed consent form (ICF) and keep healthy behaviors stable for one year.
2) Supplement group men and women aged 30-80 residing in mainland USA who used at least 5 Shaklee supplements 4-6 times weekly for at least 5 years and were willing to sign the ICF.
1) Control group those with health conditions and taking medications that would affect telomere length, all smokers (cigarettes or recreational drugs), BMI>35, people taking more than 3 daily supplements.
2) Supplement group no exclusion if inclusion criteria were satisfied.
Sample collection and processing as well as telomere length assay and data collection were performed by Telomere Diagnostics, Menlo Park, CA.
Telomere length test:
qPCR was used to measure average telomere length per genome (i.e. telomere-to-single copy gene (T/S) ratio) in saliva cellular DNA. Saliva was used because of its ease of collection and storage. Saliva samples were collected with Oragene DNA collection kit (Ont., Canada).
Telomere length was reported as a T/S ratio (telomere signal normalized relative to a single copy gene signal). T/S ratios of the supplement group were compared to those in the age-matched control group. Students t-test was used for comparisons between two endpoints. For comparison of multiple endpoints, ANOVA was used. P-values less than 0.05 were considered to be statistically significant.
Demographic data showed that on average, the control group was younger than the supplement group even though the two groups were age-matched (Table 1).
Participants in the supplement group were heavy supplement users who took more than 12 supplements at least 4 days per week for at least 10 years; much higher than the minimum requirements stipulated in the inclusion criteria.
Supplement group had significantly higher total iron, total iron binding capacity and fasting glucose levels than those in the control group; however, these values were within normal range for both groups (Table 1).
No significant difference in blood triglyceride concentration or cholesterol ratio was observed between the control and supplement group (Table 1).
Supplement group had significantly greater T/S ratio compared to control group (Figure 1).
Women had longer telomeres than men in the control group, but this trend was reversed in the supplement group (Figure 1).
T/S ratio of the supplement group was 11.2% greater than that of the control group (p<0.0001). Supplementation resulted in a greater treatment effect in men vs. women (p<0.005) (Table 2).
Linear regression indicated that the rate of change in T/S ratio was reduced by 40% in the supplement group vs control (Figure 2).
See the Editorial Comments at the end of this page
Overall, women had longer telomeres than men in the control group, but this trend was reversed in the supplement group. T/S ratio of the supplement group was 11.2% greater than that of the control group (p<0.0001). Supplementation resulted in a greater treatment effect in men vs. women (p<0.005). By linear regression, the rate of change in T/S ratio was reduced by 40% in the supplement group vs control. Blood biomarkers in both groups were comparable and were within the normal physiological ranges.
(Click on any table or graphic to increase their size in a new window.)
Effect of Supplementation on Telomere Length (Women)
Effect of Supplementation on Telomere Length (Men)
Gladys Block, Christopher D Jensen, Edward P Norkus, Tapashi B Dalvi,
Les G Wong, Jamie F McManus and Mark L Hudes
Usage Patterns, Health, and Nutritional Status of Long-term
Multiple Dietary Supplement Users
Nutrition Journal 2007 (Oct 24); 6 (30)
When I first read this comment in the study:
T/S ratio of the supplement group was 11.2% greater than that of the control group
it didn't really hit me, until I really stared at Figure 2 for a while.
I asked my friend John (our graphics wizard at Chiro.Org) to insert a thin (horizontal) blue line, to connect the 80-year old Shaklee users' (Green line) to where it crosses the control groups telomere length (Red Line).
What this helps us see is that an 80-year old Shaklee user's telomeres are the SAME length as an 35-year old healthy (control) subject. Wow!
11.2% (all by itself) may not sound very impressive, but knowing that when I'm 80 years old,
my telomeres will be identical to a healthy 35-year old certainly makes my day!
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