It’s telomeres – the little caps on the end of your chromosomes that control how many times your cells can divide before they die. Longer-lived cells should help fight the signs of aging – keeping you looking and feeling younger.
The researcher in this article is searching for substances to extend the working life of telomeres.
But I have good news. You don’t have to wait for him to finish his research. Or spend a fortune for his product – when and if he develops one. Nature has already provided you with the tools you need to fight the effects of aging.
Telomeres are a bit like the soles of your shoes. Each time you put your shoes on and go for a walk, the soles wear out a little bit. Eventually, the soles wear through, and your shoes are useless.
Well, each time one of your cells divides, the telomeres on its chromosomes get a bit shorter. Eventually they wear out, the chromosome “unravels,” and the cell dies.
But researchers have already discovered nutrients that appear to slow the shortening of telomeres… and extending the useful life of your cells. So let’s take a look at some of them.
Several vitamins have been linked to longer telomeres. For example, researchers looked at blood samples from a group of healthy men. They found that the men with the highest concentrations of folate – a B vitamin – also had the longest telomeres. Men with the lowest folate levels had the shortest telomeres.1
You’ll get lots of folate eating spinach and asparagus. You’ll get good amounts from lentils, lima beans and orange juice, too.
Studies also link vitamins C and E to longer telomeres. In a test-tube study, vitamin C promoted a slow-down of up to 62% in the shortening of telomeres in human cells.2
Citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C. Sweet red peppers and strawberries are even better. Tree nuts, such as almonds and hazelnuts are very high in vitamin E. Peanuts, avocados and olive oil are other good sources.
A study of 2,160 women also linked higher levels of vitamin D to longer telomeres. Women with high levels of vitamin D had much longer telomeres than women with low levels of this important vitamin. In fact, their telomeres were as long as those the researchers expected to see in women 5 years younger.3
To take advantage of vitamin D’s benefits, your best source is sunshine. Cod liver oil and fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are also rich in vitamin D.
Vitamins aren’t the only way to promote longer telomeres, either. The mineral selenium – found in shrimp, crab, salmon and pork – promotes slower shortening of telomeres in test-tube studies.4
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish also appear to have a positive influence on telomere length. In a 5-year California study, high levels of Omega-3’s were clearly linked to slower shortening of telomeres.5
Salmon, trout and crab are all excellent sources of the same Omega-3’s measured in this study.
Adding all these foods into your diet on a regular basis is an easy – and delicious – way to promote anti-aging. For extra insurance, consider taking a good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. According to the National Institutes of Health, people who do tend to have longer telomeres, too.6
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 Paul, L., et al, “Telomere Length in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells Is Associated with Folate Status in Men,” J. Nutr. July 2009:139(7);1273-1278.
2 Furumoto, K., et al, “Age-dependent telomere shortening is slowed down by enrichment of intracellular vitamin C via suppression of oxidative stress,” Life Sci. 1998;63(11):935-48.
3 Richards, J.B., et al, “Higher serum vitamin D concentrations are associated with longer leukocyte telomere length in women,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Nov 207:86(5)1420-1425.
4 Liu, Q., et al, “Effects of sodium selenite on telomerase activity and telomere length,” Sheng Wu Hua Xue Yu Sheng Wu Wu Li Xue Bao (Shanghai) Dec Dec. 2003;35(12):1117-22.
5 Farzaneh-Far, R., et al, “Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease,” JAMA. 2010;303(3):250-257.
6 Xu, Q., et al, “Multivitamin use and telomere length in women,” Am J Clin Nutr (March 11, 2009). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26986.