Friday Pearl

Telomeres, Depression & Suicide

Friday, August 18, 2017

Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggests that depression and anxiety in young adults may affect telomere length.

Telomeres are sequences of DNA that shorten every time a cell divides—a natural occurrence that contributes to chromosomal instability over time and eventual cell death. Researchers frequently use telomere length of white blood cells as a marker of biological aging.

There is a growing body of research that links deficient nutrient intake in those diagnosed with early adulthood major depression and anxiety to decreasing telomere length, particularly in those treated with antidepressant medications. Interestingly, an association between young adult major depression and decreased telomere length has yet to be observed in those not using antidepressants, according to researchers.

Epidemiologic studies have established that depression, anxiety disorders, and shortened telomeres in young adults are predictive of health outcomes in later life.

Recent studies are also reporting mitochondrial DNA alterations and shortened telomeres under several neuropsychiatric conditions, including suicide-related pathophysiology. Further research on telomere shortening and mitochondrial dysfunction is indicated, given the increasing number of suicides in young adults.

A cross-sectional analysis, based on multivitamin use and dietary nutrient intake data for 586 women aged 25 to 74 years old, linked the use of daily multivitamins with longer telomere length—the longer the telomere the younger the cells, according to the researchers hypothesis.

The majority (74 percent) of the women in the study took multivitamins on a daily basis for 60 months. For these women, multivitamins accounted for more than 50 percent of the total intake for vitamins and minerals, including C, E, D, B6, B12, folate, iron, and zinc.
Compared with those who did not supplement with a multivitamin, those who took daily multivitamins had telomeres averaging 5.1 percent longer—the difference equates to 9.8 years of telomere loss through aging, according to researchers.

As we see it, that could amount to almost ​10 extra years to do the things we like to do.

Have a thoughtful and peaceful weekend.

Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


The latest Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation for optimal health, including eye health, is daily intake of 9 to 13 one-half cup servings of fruits and vegetables. 

Information from Healthy People 2010 suggests that less than 10 percent of the American public consumes five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This data has not improved in the past seven years.


Multivitamin use and telomere length in women. Qun Xu, Parks, C, DeRoo L, Am Jornal of Clinical Nutrition  (March 11, 2009) [abstract]
Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women. Cosgrove M, Franco O, et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol 86, No 4, 1225-1231, October 2007 [abstract]

Cellular aging and restorative processes: subjective sleep quality and duration moderate the association between age and telomere length in a sample of middle-aged and older adults. Cribbet MR, Carlisle M, Cawthon RM. Sleep 2014 Jan 1;37(1) 65-70 [abstract]

A cross-sectional analysis of the association between perceived network social control and telomere length. Achino BN, Cawthon RM, et al. Health Phychol 2015 Mar;34(5):531-8 [abstract]

Cellular again of sketetal muscle: telomeric and free radical evidence that physical inactivity is responsible and not age. Venturelli M, Morgan GR, Cawthon RM, et al. Clin Sci (Lond) 2014 Sep;127(6): 415-21 [abstract]

Association betwween telomere length in blood and mortality in people aged 60 years or older. Cawthon RM, Smith KR, et al. Lancet 2003 Feb 1;361(9335): 393-5 [abstract]

Age-related telomere uncapping is associated with cellular senescence and inflammation independent of telomere shortening in human arteries. Morgan RG, Ives SL Cawthon RM, et al. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2013 July 15;305(2): [abstract]

Association between higher plasma lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C concentrations and longer telomere length: Results of the Austrian stroke prevention study. Aen A, Marsche G, et al. J AM Geriatr Soc. Jan 15, 2014 - [abstract]

Multivitamin use and telomere length in women. Xu Q, Parks CG. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 [abstract]

Anti-aging effects of vitamin C on human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Kim YY. Ku SY. et al. Age 2013 Oct;35(5): 1545-57 [abstract]

Plasma vitamin D biomarkers and leukocyte telomere length. Liu JJ, Prescott J. et al. American J Epidemiol. 2013 - [abstract]

Modulation of DNA-induced damage and repair capacity in humans after dietary intervention with lutein-enriched fermented milk. Herrero-Barudo C, Solevilla B. et al. PloS One 2013 Sep 11;8(9): [abstract]

Crestpoint Management, LTD instrument announcement:
Coaxial Handpiece, Disposable M5592