Diet and Leukocyte Telomere Length in a Population with Extended Longevity: The Costa Rican Longevity and Healthy Aging Study (CRELES)




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Ruiz Narváez, Edward A.
Baylin, Ana
Azofeifa Navas, Jorge
Leal Esquivel, Alejandro
Rosero Bixby, Luis

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Elderly Costa Ricans have lower mortality rates compared to their counterparts from developed countries. Reasons for this survival advantage are not completely known. In the present study, we aimed to identify dietary factors associated with leukocyte telomere length (LTL), a marker of biologic aging, in the elderly population of Costa Rica. We conducted prospective analysis in 909 participants aged 60+ years from the Costa Rican Longevity and Healthy Aging Study (CRELES). We used a food frequency questionnaire to assess usual diet. We calculated dietary patterns using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). We used generalized linear models to examine the association of dietary patterns and food groups with leukocyte telomere length. We found two major dietary patterns explaining 9.15% and 7.18% of the total variation of food intake, respectively. The first dietary pattern, which represents a traditional Costa Rican rice and beans pattern, was more frequent in rural parts of the country and was positively associated with baseline LTL: (95% CI) = 42.0 base-pairs (bp) (9.9 bp, 74.1 bp) per one-unit increase of the traditional dietary pattern. In analysis of individual food groups, intake of grains was positively associated with baseline LTL: (95% CI) = 43.6 bp (13.9 bp, 73.3 bp) per one-serving/day increase of consumption of grains. Our results suggest that dietary factors, in particular a traditional food pattern, are associated with telomere length and may contribute to the extended longevity of elderly Costa Ricans.


Palabras clave

Longevidad, Envejecimiento, Dieta, Telomeros, Costa Rica, Longevity, Aging, Diet, Telomeres