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Carotenoids may protect telomeres and delay cell aging

Telomeres protect the genetic information in each cell and enable cells to successfully reproduce with complete DNA. Each time a cell reproduces, telomeres shorten until they eventually deactivate the cell.

Earlier studies found oxidative stress accelerates telomere shortening and antioxidants delay it. In this study, doctors measured antioxidant carotenoid levels and telomere length in 3,660 participants, age 20 and older over a 10-year period. Those with the highest levels of the antioxidant carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, had 5 to 8 percent longer telomeres compared to those with the lowest carotenoid levels. Discussing the findings, doctors said consuming antioxidant rich foods may play a role in protecting telomeres and delay cell aging.

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