Aging Forces: Telomere Shortening
Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of our chromosomes. They are the biological clocks of our cells. Each time our cells divide and our DNA is replicated, we lose some telomere length. Telomere length is a marker of biological aging. We age as our telomeres shorten. Telomere shortening is involved in all aspects of aging and chronic disease.
If we could maintain telomere length we could prevent cellular aging! If we accelerate the shortening of our telomeres we accelerate aging. If we slow the rate of telomere shortening we slow the rate of aging. Research reveals that our lifestyle choices impact the rate of telomere shortening, and as a result, our rate of aging.
Reproductive cells, eggs and sperm, are able to maintain telomere length because they produce an enzyme call telomerase. Telomerase adds length to the telomeres. Since all of our cells contain the exact same genetic material, you may wonder why all cells don’t produce enough telomerase to stay young. The telomerase gene that makes the enzyme telomerase is turned off by a repressor protein in all of our cells except egg and sperm cells. Research into telomerase activators has increased since the discovery of telomerase in 1984. Finding telomerase activators that could increase our telomere length has exciting implications for the future of Anti-aging medicine. While this anti-aging research is underway, let’s learn what we can do to slow the rate of telomere shortening, as well as our rate of aging, to optimize health.
Telomeres, our cellular clocks, are vulnerable to the aging forces discussed in our previous blogs. For example, oxidation, inflammation, glycation, insulin resistance, stress levels, lack of exercise, hormone deficiencies, nutritional deficiencies, and mitochondrial dysfunction, all accelerate telomere shortening. Each component of our anti-aging program slows the loss of telomere length and keeps us younger and healthier.
Shortened telomeres are associated with diseases of aging such as heart disease, dementia, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and cancer. Slow the rate of telomere shortening and we delay the onset of degenerative disease!
What slows the rate of telomere shortening?
1) Exercise, especially short-duration, high-intensity training.
2) A regular sleep pattern. Sleep deprivation speeds telomere loss.
3) Hormone balance. Bioidentical hormones such as estrogen and testosterone protect telomere length.
4) Controlling glycation
5) Controlling inflammation
6) Controlling oxidation
7) Stress reduction
8) Optimal nutrient intake, especially omega-3 fats, astaxanthin,vitamin D, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, resveratrol, B-vitamin complex, and a high-quality multivitamin/mineral formula.
9) Nutrient-dense diet. Avoid age accelerators such as refined carbohydrates, trans-fats and high-fructose corn syrup.
10) TA-65, a nutritional supplement found to induce telomerase activity and add length to telomeres. TA-65 users report improved energy levels, enhanced immune function, and increased well-being.
Our anti-aging lifestyle helps combat the aging forces that shorten telomeres, accelerates aging, and increases our risk of degenerative diseases. Our anti-aging lifestyle promotes cellular health and longevity to optimize our healthspan.