In a very interesting study of 586 participants done in 2009, multivitamin use was related to longer telomere length in women aged 35–74 years (1). Compared with nonusers, the relative telomere length of leukocyte DNA was on average 5.1% longer among daily multivitamin users (P for trend = 0.002). As you probably already know, telomere length is related to biological aging and excessive telomere shortening may play an important role in development of some chronic diseases eg. Type 2 Diabetes.
It is understandable that regular multivitamin users tend to follow a healthy lifestyle and have a higher intake of micronutrients. The same study found that higher intakes of vitamins C and E from foods were each associated with longer telomeres too, even after adjustment for multivitamin use.
Researchers believe that the findings are related to the antioxidant power of many of the vitamins and minerals in the multivitamins which help prevent damage to all parts of DNA, including telomeres.
1: Xu Q, Parks CG, DeRoo LA, Cawthon RM, Sandler DP, Chen H. Multivitamin use and telomere length in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;89(6):1857-63. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26986. Epub 2009 Mar 11. PubMed PMID: 19279081; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2714373.
Dr Nicole Ng (MBBS) is a medical doctor with a passion in women's health and medical research