The following study, from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was reported in the news media recently: Multivitamin Use and Telomere Length in Women.
Telomeres are structures at the end of chromosomes which protect genetic information against degradation, and so are thought to be associated with longevity.
In the conclusion to the article’s abstract (see link above), the authors state: This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence that multivitamin use is associated with longer telomere length among women.
They noted specific correlations with vitamin E and vitamin C, which held true even for women who did not take supplemental vitamins.
While it sometimes appears that science works hard to validate common sense, I think that there is great value in studies such as this one. But we must be careful about the conclusions, in many ways.
It is safe to say that there are many aspects of good diet which are beneficial for all living creatures. Wherever possible, we must strive to eat well, in a very broad-based way.
While total calories, adequate (but not excessive) protein, healthy grain carbohydrates, good fats, and adequate intake of vitamins and minerals have been the hallmarks of our thinking about good nutrition, in recent years other aspects of nutrition have emerged.
I am now thinking specifically about the “information” present in nutrition, which helps our bodies regulate genetic expression and therefore influence almost every aspect of our daily functioning. This “information” takes the form of various chemicals, called “phyto-nutrients” or “phyto-chemicals” (“phyto” refers to being plant-based).
These phytonutrients are found primarily in the colored pigments of fruits and vegetables.