Did you know that when it comes to aging it’s all about the ‘caps?’ That’s right..tiny molecular caps that hold the key to how old and how well you really are..what I like to call the true ‘Genetic Yardstick of Aging’
Science is getting closer to understanding just what affects the aging process. We now have a larger understanding about what it is that may extend our life, lead to a more vibrant, youthful life and most importantly, a healthier life. So what is the key factor responsible for this? It is tiny molecular caps called ‘Telomeres.’
“Those with the longest telomeres are the healthiest, longest-lived and most youthful people”
Telomeres- The Anti Aging Factor
Telomeres are simply ‘caps’ on the ends of our chromosomes that protect our vital DNA from injury. These protective caps help stop the destruction and damage that occurs with shorter telomeres that ultimately leads to a vulnerability to illness, disease, and faster aging. Telomeres are like the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces that prevent the lace from fraying. DNA frays and tangles if the telomere is too short. As we age, our cells divide and our telomere cap is snipped, shortened naturally with each cell division. If the cell becomes too short, the cell either dies or is inactive. As a person’s telomeres get shorter, his or her life gets shorter.
Telomere length is now a reliable marker of cell age. In general, the shorter the telomere’s length, the older and more tired the cell which equates to the same energy output we physically experience. We want our cells to remain viable as long as we can – with strong mitochondrial energy..and by the way, the shorter telomere length is passed on to the new cell when the original one divides. The good news is the cap’s length can be changed.
Science now shows that we can lengthen our telomeres and at the least, help protect against unnecessary shortening simply by making small shifts in the way we eat, live and think..the age-reversing switch can be turned ON:
The key goal in eating healthfully to protect and extend your telomeres is to reduce oxidative damage. Add important nutrient-dense foods such as veggies, whole fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. Stop eating refined carbs such as sugar, white flour, white rice and junk foods. View your food more as how it can benefit you, as more prescriptive, than simply for pleasure alone.
Nutrients that for many reasons are missing from our diets from poor soil to long travel from farm to table, long storage and much more can dramatically reduce critical nutrients for optimal health. Research shows that nutrients that can help to lengthen or protect from telomere shortening are: Multiple Vitamin (Iron-Free unlesss anemic), vitamin D3, Glutathione (found in Whey Protein), CoQ10, Selenium, Fermented Foods/Probiotics, Magnesium, Resveratrol, Folic Acid or Folate, Vitamin B-12, Turmeric and Fish Oil. Simply taking just one daily multi-vitamin a day only, can have a marked effect. Researchers at the National Institute of Health conducted a study where the participants were given a daily multivitamin and had 5.1% longer telomeres, which equates to roughly 9.8 additional years of life.
Are you internally fit? If you are exercising chances are high you are protecting your telomeres from shortening and extending them. Research shows a direct association of longer telomeres with vigorous exercise such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It appears that HIIT or sprinting to be the most effective all-natural approach to slow down the aging process by reducing telomere shortening.
We all experience stress but it is the self-perceived big stressors such as a divorce or bankruptcy that can have a negative impact our genes. Chronic stress is not given a pass either. You may have seen examples of how someone who is stressed really doesn’t look very healthy or seems to go gray overnight.
Research has shown that major stressful events or chronic stress are linked with a shortening of telomeres. However, and important, making healthy choices has a mitigating effect – those who opt for more healthful behaviors experience a smaller shortening in telomere length and protect against cellular aging. Stress reduction techniques such as simply taking the time to relax for 5-10 minutes every day, deep breathing, meditation (which research now has shown to lengthen telomeres).
Poor lifestyle habits, as reflected in lack of physical activity, obesity, depression, accumulated stress, poor diet, inflammation and stress speeds up the shortening of telomeres..but the good news? We now have important research that shows with simple lifestyle changes, we can be and feel fit and healthy, while living a longer quality life. It’s all about choice.
To Your Good Health….