Abstract

Leukocyte telomere length and diet in the apparently healthy, middleaged Asklepios population


Author: Tim De Meyer1, Sofe Bekaert2, Marc L. De Buyzere3, Dirk D. De Bacquer4, Michel R. Langlois5, Nitin Shivappa6, James R. Hébert6, Thierry C. Gillebert 3, Ernst R. Rietzschel3 & Inge Huybrechts4,7
Source: Scientific Reports
Publication Date: April 2018

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Abstract

Telomere length is a prognostic biomarker for aging diseases. As it is unknown whether diet plays
a role in these associations, we aimed to assess the impact of diet on telomere length. Moreover,
given that telomere length is modulated by oxidative stress and infammation, an additional goal
was to evaluate whether the latter may mediate possible telomere – diet associations. Southern blot
measured leukocyte telomere length and food frequency questionnaire data were compared for 2509
apparently healthy men and women (~35 to 55 years) from the Asklepios population. No signifcant
associations were found between telomere length and overall dietary characteristics, such as dietary
diversity, quality, equilibrium, and the dietary infammatory index. Exploratory analysis of individual
dietary variables revealed that a higher daily intake of deep fried potato products was associated with
shorter telomeres (P=0.002, 151bp per 100g/day), also in both sexes separately. Deep fried potato
product consumption was also signifcantly associated with C-reactive protein (P=0.032) and uric acid
(P=0.042), but not other infammation and oxidative stress markers. These results suggest an at most
limited association between overall dietary patterns and telomere length in the general population.
Nevertheless, the association between telomere length and deep fried potato product intake warrants
additional research.