Could Promoting Longevity Really Be This Easy?
Don’t you hate it when you lose an aglet from your shoelace?
An aglet is that little plastic cap on the end of your shoelaces that keeps them from unraveling. Once an aglet has worn out, your lace starts falling apart. Before long, it’s useless.
Something similar happens in your cells. Except it’s to your DNA instead of your shoelaces.
I’ve written to you before about telomeres. They’re little caps on the end of your chromosomes. Like aglets, they keep your chromosomes from “unraveling.” And they also wear out with use. In this case, they get a little shorter each time a cell divides.
Once a cell’s telomeres are too short to provide further protection, that cell stops dividing. Eventually, it dies off. A lot of scientists believe this is the key to aging. And some solid science backs this idea.
For example, researchers in Utah linked telomeres to your risk of death. In their 2003 study, they discovered people with short telomeres are more likely to die than people with longer telomeres.
Short telomeres increased the risk of dying from heart trouble by more than 300%. And people with short telomeres had more than 8 times the risk of death from infectious disease.1
But this study was fairly small – only 143 adults took part. Now, a much larger study highlights the link between telomeres and longevity.
The new California study looked at more than 100,000 people with an average age of 63. They had access to all the volunteer’s medical records… and to their DNA. Plus, they had detailed records of the volunteers’ lifestyles and habits.
The results of this study confirmed earlier results. People with longer telomeres were at a far lower risk of death from a long list of health problems. And this link remained after they took lifestyle factors into account.2
Among other things, the scientists found that people with a lower body mass index (BMI) tend to have longer telomeres. Smokers and drinkers tend to have shorter telomeres. We already know obesity, alcohol use and smoking are linked to a higher risk of illness and death. So this serves to reinforce the team’s findings.
These lifestyle changes are obvious ways to lower your risk… and influence longevity. But if longer telomeres prove to be more than just a signpost of lower risk, there are some other ways you can have an influence.
And they’re remarkably simple. Even an inexpensive nutritional supplement could be enough to make the difference.
- Eat more fish. Doctors at San Francisco General Hospital followed a group of volunteers for 5 years. Those with the highest blood levels of DHA and EPA had longer telomeres then people with lower levels.3 DHA and EPA are Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish.
- Get more sunshine. In a 2007 study, people with the highest levels of vitamin D also had the longest telomeres.4 As little as 20 minutes of summer sun on your face and arms daily could give your vitamin D levels a significant boost. But remember to avoid burning, which damages your skin.
- Take a multivitamin. Researchers discovered the telomeres of women who regularly took a multivitamin averaged 5.1% longer than the telomeres of those who didn’t.5
Yours in good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Cawthon, R.M., et al, “Association between telomere length in blood and mortality in people aged 60 years or older,” Lancet. Feb 1, 2003; 361(9355): 393-395.
2 “Significant Relationship Between Mortality and Telomere Length Discovered,” Science Daily. Nov 8, 2012.
3 Farzaneh-Far, R., et al. “Association of marine omega-3 fatty acid levels with telomeric aging in patients with coronary heart disease,” JAMA. Jan 20, 2010; 303(3) :250-257.
4 Richards, J.B., et al, “Higher serum vitamin D concentrations are associated with longer leukocyte telomere length in women,” Am J Clin Nutr. Nov 2007; 86(5): 1420-1425.
5 Xu, Q., et al, “Multivitamin use and telomere length in women,” Am J Clin Nutr. Jun 2009; 89(6): 1857–1863.