British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

Chinese tea consumption is associated with longer telomere length in elderly Chinese men

Ruth Chana1 c1, Jean Wooa1, Eddie Suena1, Jason Leunga2 and Nelson Tanga3

a1 Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

a2 Jockey Club Centre for Osteoporosis Care and Control, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

a3 Department of Chemical Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

Abstract

Environmental and lifestyle factors that affect oxidative stress and inflammation may influence telomere length (TL). There are limited data to relate the effect of dietary components on TL. The present study examined the association between food groups and TL in a sample of elderly Chinese. In a sample of 2006 Chinese (976 men and 1030 women) aged 65 years and over, TL was measured by quantitative real-time PCR and daily intake of food groups was assessed by a validated FFQ. Linear regression and analysis of covariance were used to examine the association between food group intake and TL, with adjustment for demographic and lifestyle factors. In men, only Chinese tea consumption was significantly associated with TL after adjustment for demographics and lifestyle factors (P = 0·002). Mean difference in TL for those in the highest quartile of Chinese tea consumption (>3 cups/d or >750 ml/d) as compared with those in the lowest quartile of Chinese tea consumption ( ≤ 0·28 cups/d or ≤ 70 ml/d) was 0·46 kb, corresponding to approximately a difference of 5 years of life. In women, intake of fats and oils was borderline and negatively associated with TL after adjustment for demographic and lifestyle factors (P = 0·037). In conclusion, Chinese tea consumption was positively associated with TL in elderly Chinese men.

(Received March 18 2009)

(Revised June 10 2009)

(Accepted June 29 2009)

(Online publication August 12 2009)

Key Words:

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Dr Ruth Chan, fax +852 2606 3500, email ruthchansm@cuhk.edu.hk

Footnotes

Abbreviations: TL, telomere length; TRF, terminal restriction fragment