Low-fat milk could help with slower aging, seen by telomere length

January 22, 2020

Different fat concentrations in your milk may affect aging, according toa team from Brigham Young University (BYU), Utah, who discovered a link between low-fat milk and longer telomeres that could equate to several more years of life. Telomeres are the protective caps located at the tips of our DNA-containing chromosomes; the telomeres get shorter after each cell replication as we grow and are thus a key biological marker of ageing.

To understand how milk consumption might impact telomeres, BYU exercise scientists examined some 5,830 US adults – about 30% drank full-fat milk, another 30% drank milk with a two-percent fat content, 10% drank one-percent-fat milk, 17% drank milk with no fat, while the remaining 13% drank no milk at all.

The scientists found that subjects who drank two-percent milk had telomeres that were 69 base pairs shorter than those who drank one-percent milk, which roughly added to four years of biological aging. Meanwhile, the telomeres in adults who consumed full-fat milk were 145 base pairs shorter than those who drank non-fat milk.Interestingly, those who drank no milk at all had shorter telomeres than those who consumed low-fat milk, suggesting that milk has some unexplained anti-aging benefits.

“It’s not a bad thing to drink milk,” said BYU exercise science professor Larry Tucker. “You should just be more aware of what type of milk you are drinking.”

The findings stand to shift dietary preferences from high-fat milk to healthier options – saturated fats like those found in high-fat milk, which likely influence telomere length, may also trigger inflammatory pathways, alter gut microbiota and increase levels of oxidative stress.

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Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies

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