Telomeres, DNA-protein complexes found on the ends of chromosomes, were shown to elongate among men who adopted a low-fat, plant-based diet, according to research led by Dean Ornish, M.D., and published in The Lancet Oncology. Telomeres are a marker of health and longevity.
Thirty-five low-risk prostate cancer patients were prescribed a low-fat, plant-based diet with a modest physical activity, stress management, and social support. After five years, the intervention group’s average telomere length increased, while the control group who made no lifestyle changes experienced a decrease in average telomere length. This is the first study to show that lifestyle changes can lengthen telomeres over time.
- Ornish D, Lin J, Chan JM, et al. Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 17 September 2013. DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70366-8.