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I My daughter called me one Sunday and asked me with excitement and a little didactically, if I had ever heard of the telomeres. I told her, with a bit of pride, that around 35 years ago I attended a symposium with international scientists, where the topic of telomeres was a part of some of the lectures. I told her that I had shelved the topic, partly because there weren’t many people in my social circle, who had knowledge of the subject and partly because back in those days, people spoke of the topic as if they had found the key to eternal life. My daughter recounted that the telomeres seem to be a topic which is very debated right now at numerous conferences and courses. What is debated is partly its function and partly how we as individuals can strengthen and lengthen our telomeres, so that we might slow or even reverse our aging, fueling us with new energy, even sexually.
What is a telomere?
We have a counter in our body, called telomeres, they are present in our DNA and decide how many times a cell can divide itself, before it ages and eventually dies.
Telomeres are small DNA sequences, which protect the chromosome-endings every time the cell divides. The telomeres function as a buffer which protects the chromosomes genetic information at cell division.
Since I try my best to keep up to date with the newest research developments in healthy living, have I started to read up on the research on telomeres and telomerase. Telomerase is the enzyme we produce, to build, rejuvenate, and extend the telomeres that we have. The end-point for how long lives can be is, according to scientists’ accounts, roughly around 120 years, which for some reason present some mystical upper-bound for how old human beings can become. There are multiple biblical stories that mention elderly people, but generally in multiple societies, 120 years is more or less the “normal age”. It’s possible in many of these societies to keep a healthy and industrious life with age. The telomeres are shortened with every cell division and scientists believe that it is the shortening of our telomeres that leads to ageing and eventually death. When we are born the individual telomere is quite long and is then reduced throughout life. For instance, on average it will be reduced with 29% at age 35, and from there it will be halved at age 65. Shorter telomeres are connected to chronic illnesses and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. The telomeres can be improved by strengthening the enzyme telomerase. Those factors, with which we can help our telomerase along, seem to be a mixture of a good diet, no drugs or alcohol, enough sleep, and less stress. Stress seem to be a huge factor. A study conducted at the George Mansion university, showed that women with children have shorter telomeres, than women without children. We know that the telomeres are nourished by the enzyme telomerase. This means that having enough telomerase can help repair and rejuvenate the telomeres.
You obviously need a healthy diet!
It is the diet that will help keep your telomeres healthy and strong and help the formation of the enzyme telomerase, which in turn will help the telomeres. Avoid destroying the body with intoxicating drugs, too much alcohol, and refined carbohydrates with sugar, unhealthy fats, and fried foods. You can use coconut oil. It is a healthy alternative, because it can stand the very high temperatures needed when cooking. A high-quality olive oil or avocado oil can also be recommended for use in your daily cooking. In general you should be careful with eating foods that are already cooked or very processed, so that it’s very boiled. When something is very processed, the enzymes are destroyed and with it all the life in the food which was supposed to nourish us. I find it quite absurd that I see more fine and modernized kitchens than ever before, but at the same time it becomes more and more normal to buy precooked meals, with poor oils, sugars, preservatives, artificial aromas, and colorants. How can we even pretend to imagine that foods of such poor quality can provide the body with the nutrients it amicably asks for. Instead the body has to resort to different diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis etc. It is necessary to have proper dietary habits, but don’t stress about it! Stress is very bad if you want to keep your telomeres healthy. Make sure that you eat sufficient amounts of omega-3 fats. That means eating plenty of fatty fish such as wild salmon. Studies have shown that the telomeres aren’t shortened as fast in people with high levels of omega-3 oils. Eat plenty of green-leafed vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, avocado. You could also make different kind of berries a stable part of your diet, such as mulberries, acai berries, raisins, grapes, and red grapefruit. You should also remember fruits such as apple, kiwi, mango, papaya, and pineapple. You want to generally eat more of a plant-based diet, which is rich in antioxidants. Avoid eating too much meat. If at all possible, make sure that the meat is from animals who have had great lives and walked on grass. Lets lenses be a part of your daily diet. Drink plenty of green tea. It is best if you make your own tea and avoid the premade one in bottles. Make sure you get plenty of nuts, almonds, and seeds.
It has been shown that a long string of supplements can prevent a premature shortening of the telomeres. As I always say, you have to start with a base of good vitamins and minerals to keep the body in balance.
- Make sure that you get a vitamin-B supplement, which has all the different vitamin-Bs in high doses. It has been shown that vitamin-B has a positive effect and can help lengthen your telomeres.
- Additionally, you could take an extra supplement of B12, either as droplets or in spray form. You could also combine the consumption of B12 with folic acid. They are mixed in multiple products.
- Take vitamin-C, between 1000 – 3000 mg daily. Vitamin-C prevents loss of telomeres, and it also increases the activity of telomerases.
- It is best to take vitamin-E with different natural tocopherols, between 40 – 400 mg daily.
- Zinc should be taken in the evening, in doses of around 20 – 50 mg daily.
- Magnesium in an easily absorbable form, should be taken in the dosage of 400 – 800 mg daily.
- If you don’t get plenty of sunshine, then remember vitamin-D. If you want vitamin-D naturally, then make sure you get 15 minutes of sun on all your body, 3 -5 times weekly.
- The amino acid acetyl L-carnitine is both a brain booster and can help active telomerase, which will benefit your telomeres.
- If you are a vegetarian, or you eat very small amounts of meat, then it might be a good idea to supplement with L-carnosine, which help you maintain healthy telomeres, and repair damaged tissue and remove toxins. Take between 400 – 600 mg twice daily, if you don’t eat meat at all.
- L-arginine activates the telomerase. Take 500 – 1000 mg daily.
- Milk thistle, which we normally use to clean our liver, have been shown to have a positive effect on the telomerase activity.
- The same is true for Gingko Biloba, which is normally used as a brain booster. I recommend that you do a 6-week cure, and then stop for the following 6 weeks.
- Astragalus, that has been used for thousands of years to strengthen the body, the immune system, and the heart circulation, has been shown to have a fantastic ability to boost telomerase production, to the benefit of the telomeres.
It has been seen, according to many different studies, that the telomeres have a great importance in the aging process, and they are heavily effected and shorten much faster when we are stressed. Chronic stress degrades the telomeres and as an effect of that, promotes increased aging.
It is therefore of the utmost importance to reduce your stress levels. I think we all cherish life and that we should take stress seriously and work ourselves out of it, by for instance throwing yourself into some healthy diversions, or reduce your work pace or whatever is causing your stress. You might consider seeking professional help, that could give you some tools to better handle your stress, maybe just through some important keywords.
I would like to pin point that I’m sure that living a long life is not only about lengthening your telomeres. I recently read an article about a woman who was roughly 120 years old. She was on the front page of the news papers and were asked to explain why she had such a good health. Without hesitation she answered that it was love. Love for her husband, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and other family.
Every day, all day, every single moment we make a choice about how we fill our lives. We choose through life, through the words we speak, the food we eat, through our actions, and those exchanges we have with the outside world and the people around us and the large wonderful world as a whole.
Thus this is reflected in our vitality. If we want to improve it, then it takes true bravery, fearlessness, and a strong self-discipline, which must never become a stress factor…