Tag Archives: dietary fiber

Telomeres and Dietary Fiber is There a Link?

New evidence published in Archives of Internal Medicine has it that eating more dietary fiber, particularly from whole grains, could lead to a longer life. The large study found a high-fiber diet reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as infectious and respiratory illnesses.

This is great news for those eating diets high in fiber. What’s also interesting is that another reason why dietary fiber is protective to health is because of its influence on telomeres. Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of chromosomes, and their length is considered the closest way to measure lifespan in humans.

As reported in a prospective cohort study published in the March 2010 edition of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), telomere length is positively associated with higher fiber intake in women. Dietary fiber from whole grains appears to provide the strongest benefit.

In addition, in the AJCN study, the researchers found telomere length was effected negatively as a person’s  waist size increased. Also higher intake of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet had a negative effect on Telomere length. People need to get more Omega-3 Fatty acids in their diet and less of the Omega-6′s.

Here is what is interesting. Certain habits that you would think would have a bigger effect on telomere length didn’t. Eating too much and being over weight tended to decrease telomere length. However, physical activity itself in one study with women showed no effect on telomere lengths. This same study interestingly enough showed that smoking and postmenopausal hormone use also had no negative effect on telomeres.

Because the study was only observational, the authors reported that further investigation is necessary to further illuminate the link between dietary fiber and telomere length.

Excellent whole grain examples (high in fiber) are rolled oats, buckwheat, whole wheat, and wild rice. The grains contain the entire grain kernel, which include the bran, germ and endosperm. Less than 5 percent of Americans consume the minimum recommended amount of whole grains, which is about 3 ounce-equivalents per day, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Americans barely receive half the amounts of dietary fiber recommended daily. How much dietary fiber is enough? The recommended amounts are 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams of fiber for men.

The AJCN study was among the first to document the relationship between diet and telomere length. The authors of the study concluded that the results provided more support that an improved diet and lifestyle would indeed help to slow the aging process.

“Telomere shortening is accelerated by oxidative stress and inflammation, and diet affects both of these processes,” the authors report. That is what was interesting about the observation that smoking had no real effect on telomeres at least for the length of the study.

In summary the following activities and habits had a positive beneficial affect on telomeres.

Most people have trouble getting enough fiber in their diet from the foods they eat. That’s why IsaGenix FiberPro™ Multi-Fiber Complex is such a great supplement to be sure you get enough fiber every day.