Posted on Oct 08, 2018, 5 p.m.
Telomeres start to shorten even before you are born, and keep shortening with age. By middle age telomeres are significantly shorter, which is not good news for health.
Shorter telomeres increase chances of cells becoming old and dormant as it means that your cells are becoming less functional and capable of repairing themselves. Slowing the shortening of telomeres may help supporting healthy aging at cellular levels.
Telomeres cap off the ends of DNA strands to help prevent loss of important information. Each time cells divide the telomere caps become shorter making sure that no information gets lost, but eventually they become too short and cells can’t make perfect copies of DNA any longer leading to cells becoming dormant and/or die. Many believe that telomere shortening is the best marker of true biological age.
Diet and lifestyle choices can have significant influence on telomeres. Those that exercise on a regular basis can have a 9 year telomere advantage. Telomeres have been the subject of much study since the 1970s. The discovery of the enzyme telomerase brings great promise to searchers to slowing the shortening as it seemed to protect the telomeres from shortening in the cells of Tetrahymena. Telomerase enzymes can be found in a variety of different cells and living organisms, it has proteins and genetic information that help to rewrite telomeres to keep them from shortening, helps replaces lots bits of DNA, helps cells repair themselves, and is key to healthy cell division.
Traditional Chinese medicines have used Qi tonic and herbs for thousands of years as a natural substance to boost energy within the body. Certain molecules in herbs contain the powerful telomerase activating, telomere lengthening enzymes, this herb is called astragalus which has been shown to help slow down and prevent telomeres from shortening by UCLA researchers.
Ancient Indian Ayurveda medicines are known for many healing powers from soothing wounds to calming inflammations. The herb used in this system is called Terminalia chebula/Haritaki that is the powerful promoter for healthy aging which contains special flavonoids that protect from telomere shortening. Terminalia has been shown to increase longevity of cells by as much as 40% while protecting telomeres from shortening.
Stress and sleep can also impact telomere health, constant stress leads to more of the stress hormone cortisol that can weaken cells through oxidative damage, robbing telomerase speeding up the shortening of telomeres and accelerating aging. One study has shown that chronic stress induced damage was the equivalent of 17 years of faster aging. A Siberian herb called rhodiola rosea can significantly help improve the body’s response to stress and reduce cortisol hormones, while it stimulates neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin to improve moods and energy.
Boosting glutathione is another way to slow down telomere shortening as it is a master antioxidant of sorts helping to fight infections and remove toxins for the body. Scientists have discovered that having more glutathione can lengthen telomeres almost as much as high intensity exercise. However glutathione can not be taken as a supplement as it won’t get past the digestive system, studies have shown that NAC/N-acetyl cysteine boosts glutathione and strengthens telomeres. NAC boosted telomerase and increased telomere length is animal studies; and kept cells from going dormant in human studies while slowing down cellular aging by actively scavenging free radicals.
Sulforaphane is an organic compound that is a natural detoxifier helping the body to get rid of many types of free radicals and environmental pollutants, one of the best sources of sulforaphane is broccoli seed extract. Broccoli seed extract has been shown to tamp oxidative stress, support healthy cholesterol levels, protect telomeres, and boost telomerase.
Eating the rainbow of fruits and vegetables can help supply the body with powerful antioxidants that help fight free radical damage and oxidative stress that attacks proteins, lipids, DNA, and telomeres. Blueberries contain special compounds that can help turn things around and can even help to revive dormant cells; once cells start to divide after getting the blueberry compound cells were observed to develop longer telomeres, looking more younger effects which were repeated several times in experiments, according to Dr. Eva Latorre.
Those looking to age more gracefully may benefit from healthy well balanced diets and active lifestyle choices along with including astragalus root extract, terminalia chebula, rhodiola rosea, NAC, broccoli seed extract, and blueberry extract into their diets as they support healthy telomeres and promote healthy aging in every cell within the body.
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