Tag Archives: telomeres

Telomere length and the cancer-atherosclerosis trade-off 

Telomeres are a hot research area now. If you can keep your telomeres long, you may live longer. But that may be an oversimplification. Click the link below for details. A teaser:

“Telomeres are caps of tandem repeats of DNA that protect the ends of all chromosomes. They are implicated in ageing because, with successive bouts of cell division, they are gradually whittled away to expose chromosomes to damage and, eventually, an inability to replicate any further. Sarah Tishkoff, together with co-authors Rivka Stone and Abraham Aviv, from the New Jersey Med School, and several others, have been taking a hard look at the evolution of telomere length across species and human groups and argue that there is a direct relationship between telomere length and susceptibility to cancer and atherosclerosis (and other diseases of ageing). Specifically, they describe evidence for an evolutionary trade-off whereby shorter telomeres in some human groups protect against cancer but expose individuals to a greater risk of other diseases in later life.”

Source: Telomere length and the cancer – atherosclerosis trade-off – The Evolution and Medicine Review

Mediterranean Diet Linked to Longer Telomeres. So What?

Grapes are an iconic Mediterranean fruit

Grapes are an iconic Mediterranean fruit

Telomeres are very trendy in the research community. Like chia seeds and kale with hipster foodies.  Telomeres are repetitive chains of amino acids attached to strands of your DNA. The longer your telomeres, the lower your risk of chronic disease and premature death, generally speaking.

The massive Nurses Health Study showed that women who ate a Mediterranean-style diet had the longer telomeres, which is good. That fits with other evidence of greater longevity and lower chronic disease rates in Mediterranean dieters.

Click for a brief pertinent article at NEJM Journal Watch, which includes a link to the original research report.

To lose weight with the Mediterranean diet, check out my book, The Advanced Mediterranean Diet (2nd edition).

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: We don’t know if telomeres are longer in men eating Mediterranean-style