Telomere what? Sounds like some distant constellation in the universe. Well, it’s not as far as you think. It’s actually part of the micro-universe within our bodies. Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that serves as a cap to our genetic material. This tends to shorten each time our cells divide. The shorter the telomeres are, the shorter the lifespan of the cell. Or to put it another way, the longer your telomeres are, the longer your lifespan. Are there tests available to measure your telomere length? Fortunately, there are. It’s not a one time test however but more of a serial testing to see how fast one ages relative to a normal population. Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may actually slow aging and age-related diseases.
Are there factors that affect telomere length? You bet! These are things like diet, stress, activity levels, nutritional deficiencies, etc. For instance, a pro-inflammatory diet consisting of deep fried/refined/fast/processed/”franken” (GMO) foods shorten telomeres faster. Calorie restriction, which I discussed in previous posts, also slows down telomere shortening. So, it might be a good idea to go to bed somewhat hungry rather than feeling “stuffed” (fasting 12 hours each night 4 days a week has been suggested by some sources). Stress reduction, sensible exercise (I recommend the PACE program by Dr. Al Sears), adequate sleep and rest (power naps included), essential oils (frankincense), nutrients like resveratrol and bioidentical HRT all go a long way in slowing down telomere shortening. I’ll discuss more ways to increase lifespan in future blog entries. Until then, let’s all strive to keep our telomeres longer longer……….
- UCSF to look at new longevity, health marker (sfgate.com)
Leave a Reply