There has been a lot more publicity of late about the significance of aging, risk of cancer and chronic illness and telomere length
What are telomeres?
As you will know the body is made up of cells and in each cell is a nucleus which contains all the genetic material.
Genes are composed of strands of DNA called chromosomes and on the ends of the chromosomes are telomeres. Telomeres protect the genetic material and make it possible for the cells to divide. You can imagine a telomere looking a little like the plastic tip on the end of a shoe lace. It protects the chromosome from fraying and damaging.
Telomeres shorten each time the cell divides and when the telomeres are too short the cell can't divide and therefore dies Shortened Telomeres is a marker of disease risk, disease progression and premature mortality. The risk of illnesses such as Cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even Dementia therefore are increased.
For a healthy long life with reduced risk of chronic illness we all need long Telomeres
Stress and Telomeres
A stressful childhood and adverse life events that cause anxiety can influence Telomere Length as an adult
It is interesting to note that higher levels of Pessimism are also associated with shorter Telomeres as well as increased levels of inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
Lifestyle factors that can reduce Telomere length include stress, cigarette smoking, obesity ,poor sleep and insufficient sleep.Factors that can increase telomeres include a healthy diet
A study showing how effective this can be was done on 30 men with biopsy diagnosed low risk prostate cancer They were asked to make lifestyle related techniques which included a low fat whole food diet, low in refined carbohydrates ,moderate exercise ( 30 minutes a day) stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga and supplements which included fish oil, vitamin C vitamin E and selenium and a protein powder. Telomerase activity increased by 29.84% in 3 months ( Telomerase is an enzyme that repairs and lengthens Telomeres)
No doubt we will be hearing more in the future about Telomeres and health and premature aging.
We hear so much that a healthy diet ,low stress, a balanced lifestyle, supplementation with good quality nutritionals, moderate regular exercise can have a huge impact on our wellness ,disease risk and our longevity. These factors influence all aspects of our health from our immune system to our nervous system in fact every body system and also with new research at that subtle genetic level and this interesting world of the Telomere.
The body in its wisdom does give us these ways to help influence and change our health for the positive at even these critical genetic levels.