What are telomeres?


 

What are telomeres?

Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that serve as a cap to your genetic material. Every time a cell replicates, its tellers will become shorter. Shorter tellers imply a shorter life span for a cell.  

What effect does telomere length have on my health and wellness?

Age adjusted telomere length is the best method to date to assess biological age using structural analysis of chromosomal change in the telomere. Serial evaluation of telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one ages relative to a normal population. Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may slow aging and age-related diseases.  In fact, shorter telomeres have been associated with metabolic abnormalities, obesity and several degenerative diseases including cancer, dementia and cardiovascular disease. In vitro studies have shown that telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which will shorter telomere length and enhance cellular aging. Minimizing associated risk factors that are linked to shortened telomere activity is recommended and include:
 

  • Reduce oxidative stress
  • Correct micronutrient deficiencies, especially vitamin D
  • Change sedentary lifestyle/increase physical activity
  • Avoid weight gain or obesity
  • Correct insulin resistance

 

Studies have shown that telomere length is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk, nutritional deficiencies (particularly antioxidants) and cancer and testing may be a useful biomarker for risk assessment.

What can I do to decrease the rate of telomere loss?

You should achieve ideal body weight and body composition with low body fat (less than 22% for women and less than 16% for men). Decreasing visceral fat is very important. Regular aerobic and resistance exercise for at least one hour per day, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night, stress reduction, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and discontinuation of all tobacco products may decrease the rate of telomere loss.

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