In T.H. White's famous telling of the Arthurian legend, The Once and Future King, the wizard Merlin, after aging forward for half his life, begins to age backward again. Science may have discovered the Merlin Effect.

The leading theory of aging is the telomere shortening theory. Telomeres (Greek for the part at the end) are protective DNA and protein complexes that cap the end of chromosomes and help them to remain stable. But each time a cell replicates, the telomere gets shorter until the cell finally dies. So, telomeres are like shortening timelines that measure cellular age. Free radical damage also shortens telomeres. Telomere shortening weakens proper replication of DNA, which results in cellular aging. Telomere shortness is a marker of aging, disease and premature death. So, preserving the length of your telomeres is the key to longevity.

A new study adds to the already substantial evidence that vitamin D preserves telomere length and, so, could protect against aging. . . .



The new study analyzed data from 1542 Americans between 20 and 39, 1336 people between 40 and 59 and 1382 people over 60. The researchers discovered that optimal levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitmin D [25(OH)D] levels of at least 50nmol/L) were associated with significantly longer leukocyte telomere length. Leukocyte telomere length is a recognized measure of telomere shortening. In the 40-59 group, telomeres were .13-kbp longer.

This study suggests the exiting possibility that adequate vitamin D could protect against aging.

At least two previous studies have also shown that vitamin D can protect telomere length (Int J Obes 2012;36(6):805-9; Clin Chem Lab Med 2015;53(11):1661-78).


J Nutr 2017 doi;10.3945/jn.116.244137


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