Lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C increase chances of a long, healthy life

When a cell divides to make a new one, it needs to copy genetic information. Protecting this genetic code are telomeres, pieces of DNA at either end of the gene strand within each cell. Every time the cell replicates, telomeres shorten, reducing the remaining number of times it can successfully divide. Without telomeres, the genetic code becomes corrupt, preventing healthy new cells from forming; possibly helping explain how age-related diseases such as cancer develop.

Doctors said there is a link between short telomere length, aging, and age-related diseases, and that oxidative stress plays a major role. In this study, researchers measured circulating levels of antioxidants in 786 men and women, average age 66. Those with the highest levels of lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C had the longest telomeres, suggesting these antioxidants may help prevent or alter the course of age-related diseases.

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