5 Anti-Aging Food-Based Vitamins

5 Anti-Aging Food-Based Vitamins

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Five Vitamins For a Long Life

In recent years, one of the best bio-markers that has begun to be studied to measure the aging process is the length of the chromosomal caps, called telomeres. (1) Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for her research linking accelerated aging to shortened telomeres.

Since Dr. Blackburn’s original research, many efforts have been made to develop strategies to lengthen the telomeres and extend life. Helping to mitigate stress with tools like meditation has been well-documented (2), but recently, five vitamins have emerged as potentially powerful tools to preserve telomere length as you age. (11)

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 & folate, which supports B12 absorption, have been shown to help regulate homocysteine levels, which are linked to telomere shortening. In studies, subjects with persistently high homocysteine levels were more likely to have shorter Leukocyte Telomere Length (LTL), and subjects with persistently low B12 and folate levels were more likely to have high levels of homocysteine. (3,4)

The highest natural food sources for B12 are:

  • clams
  • beef liver
  • fish such as trout and salmon
  • most dairy products

The highest natural food sources of folate are (13):

  • beef liver
  • black-eyed peas
  • boiled green vegetables, like spinach, asparagus and Brussels sprouts
  • broccoli
  • mustard greens
  • kidney beans

>>> Read more about vitamin B12 here

Vitamin D

New research has linked vitamin D as a critical part of several vital cellular processes that can potentially affect genomic stability and telomere length as we age. (5) While some experts differ, the Vitamin D Council’s research shows that vitamin D levels are optimized when they are stable at the higher end of the normal range between 40-80ng/mL. For most normal adults, this means that they need a total intake (including food sources) of 4-5000 IU’s per day to maintain optimal levels year-round. This means that winter supplementation will be required for most folks living north of Atlanta. Regular testing is also highly recommended. (10)

 >>> Learn more about vitamin D3 here

As always, the best natural source of vitamin D is sunlight.

The highest natural food sources of vitamin D are (13):

  • cod liver oil
  • fatty fish such as swordfish, salmon and tuna
  • sardines
  • beef liver
  • egg yolks

Vitamin C 

The body cannot manufacture its own vitamin C, so unless you are eating sufficient amounts of fruits, particularly citrus, and vegetables, it is easy to become deficient in this vitamin. Fruits are abundant in the fall to help store vitamin C for the winter months. In one study, vitamin C has been linked to a slowdown in telomere shortening by as much as 62% via the suppression of oxidative stress. (6) Other studies have shown an association between higher vitamin C blood concentrations and longer LTL in normal elderly persons (11).

The highest natural food sources of vitamin C are (13):

  • citrus fruits
  • raw sweet peppers of every color
  • dark green veggies such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is one of the body’s most powerful antioxidant, protective and fat-soluble vitamins.  Telomerase is the enzyme that is responsible for natural telomere maintenance. In in-vitro studies, vitamin E has been linked to the inhibition of anti-telomerase activity during healthy cell replication. (7) While the specific mechanism is still unclear, the case for vitamin E’s role in healthy aging is already strong.

The highest natural food sources of vitamin E are (13):

  • sunflower seeds
  • nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts
  • certain vegetable oils
  • peanuts
  • spinach

Vitamin A

Carotenes, which give carrots their orange color and bell peppers their red and yellow, are the precursors to vitamin A. In one study, higher blood carotene levels were positively associated with approximately 2% longer telomeres. (8) Lutein, another carotenoid commonly found in foods high in carotenes, has also been associated with longer telomere length in recent studies. (9)

The highest natural food sources of vitamin A are:

  • sweet potatoes
  • beef liver
  • spinach
  • carrots
  • mangoes
  • black-eyed peas
  • broccoli

Eat up, be well, and stay youthful!


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1933587/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057175/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15261610
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4731864/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25803084
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9747894
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17407150
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26818530
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24428184
  10. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/for-health-professionals-position-statement-on-supplementation-blood-levels-and-sun-exposure/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4761710/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4647025/
  13. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-VitaminsMinerals/

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