Client in our facility in Irvine, CA come here to make changes in their life that boost their health, slow the aging process and build their strength, endurance and flexibility. The pattern of healthy eating and exercising regularly positively impacts many different systems. One of those is the DNA and has to do with lengthening telomeres. If you don’t know what telomeres are, they act like aglets on shoelaces—those little plastic tips that prevent the shoelaces from unraveling. Only in the case of telomeres, they’re preventing the gene damage.
The chromosomes shorten every replication.
If there were no telomeres, cells would only be able to replicate a few times before there was DNA damage or the cells would die. However, instead of the chromosomes shortening, damaging the DNA, the telomeres shortens, so the rest of the chromosome remains intact. Luckily, the telomeres are the disposable part whose whole job is to protect the rest of the chromosome, allowing it to continually replicate without damage to maintain youth and good health.
Telomeres don’t just get shorter and then disappear.
If you want to live a long life, you definitely want long telomeres. However, the body is changing every day with new cells. We’re actually regenerating. While there’s a lot of estimates about getting a whole new body in a certain number of years, many scientists believe that some cells, like the heart cells, don’t replicate quickly, only about one percent per year. Aside from those slowly regenerating cells, there’s an estimate that it takes between 11 and 15 years to regenerate all the cells in the body. If you have longer telomeres, that regeneration takes place and you remain young and healthy. If they’re shorter, you either have damage at the cellular level and get disease or show signs of aging. You can do something to keep them longer.
You can lengthen your telomeres or prevent them from shortening.
If you had a car and the manufacturer said that all you had to do was put a certain type of oil in it and drive it over fifty miles an hour at least three times a week and it would last five, ten or twenty years longer, you’d do it wouldn’t you. That’s the same for your body and telomeres. Studies show you can do several things to lengthen the telomeres you have or slow the shortening process. Chronic stress, for instance, shortens telomeres, so eliminating the effects of stress helps keep them longer. Working out is the real stress buster as many of you know. Making sure you have exercise on a regular basis can help in other ways, too. In fact, studies show that people workout have longer telomeres and the more time spent exercising, the longer the telomeres were.
Scientists identify telomere growth by the amount of telomerase, an enzyme that lengthens telomeres. However, it lengthens the telomeres in both cancerous and healthy cells, so increasing it by chemical means could play havoc. Only by boosting all the systems, including the immune system, through lifestyle changes, can you have the best and healthiest outcome.
Learning meditation, yoga or some other relaxation technique can boost your telomere growth.
Eating healthy is also a way to encourage healthy telomere growth. One study showed a vegan diet and other lifestyle changes actually helped reverse the shortening of telomeres.
Foods that are high in nutrition and antioxidants are important. While you might take a supplement, it won’t provide all the phytonutrients that whole foods provide.