Why Do Telomeres Shorten? 3 Steps To Lengthen
The following article on telomeres was written by Dr. Al Sears.
Learn what telomeres are, why the shorten, and discover three steps to make them longer.
It’s good to be back home in South Florida. But I’m already looking forward to traveling again this year. I’ve been invited to speak at the 22nd Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Aesthetic Medicine in Las Vegas.
It’s a big deal because the A4M conference in Las Vegas is the biggest anti-aging conference in the world.
And the biggest story there will be telomere biology.
Telomeres are the tiny bindings at the end of each of your strands of DNA.
You already know that your telomeres are like a ticking biological clock.
Each time your cells divide, a tiny bit of each telomere gets used up. Over time, these telomeres get shorter and shorter until your DNA can no longer make correct copies, and that cell stops working.
This process happens slowly, and it makes your cells act older and weaker.
But what you may not know is just how many of today’s most widespread conditions and illnesses are associated with shorter telomeres.
Research shows that with longer telomeres, you have a better chance to avoid almost every illness and disease. Here are the top 10 health goals you can achieve if you keep your telomeres longer:
- Keep your memory sharp – The famous Nurses’ Health Study looked at the telomeres of 2000 women, and found that those people with longer telomeres had less cognitive decline. Each unit increase in telomere length is like your brain acting a year younger! 1
- Stay happy and energized – Depression is now associated with cell aging. The longer your telomeres, the less likely you are to be depressed no matter your age.2
- Maintain a strong heart – The younger your cells act, the less likely you are to suffer from cardiovascular disease.3
- Stay lean and healthy – A study done just a few months ago found that obese children have telomeres that are 24% shorter than non-obese children.4
- Keep your eyesight – Longer telomeres mean a nearly 50% reduced risk for eye disease. And people with cataracts who had longer telomeres had less severe cases that those with shorter telomeres.5
- Have perfect blood sugar – People with diabetes have significantly shorter telomeres than people without. The longer your telomeres, the better chance you have of avoiding diabetes. Also, among those with diabetes, longer telomeres mean a less severe case with fewer complications.6
- Get healthy teeth and gums – Most people don’t think of disease originating in the mouth, but your gums are a direct path to the rest of your body. Gum disease is an indicator of inflammation in your body. People with gum disease had 23% shorter telomeres. Those with longer telomeres had no gum disease, and lower markers of inflammation.7
- Sleep soundly – In China, they looked at the immune systems of people with sleep apnea compared to people who slept normally. The ratio of white blood cells with longer telomeres was significantly higher in healthy people than for people with sleep apnea.8
- Have pain-free and mobile joints – Telomeres appear to shorten faster for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Longer telomeres are associated with lower risk for the immune disease.9
- Look younger and have more youthful skin – Did you know that even for identical twins, the one with longer telomeres always looks younger than the twin with shorter telomeres? What’s more, the twins who looked younger than their true age had better health and longer survival rates than their older-looking siblings.
Fortunately for you, we now have the ability to influence the length of these tiny genetic clocks. You can have younger acting cells and help avoid age-related problems by maintaining your telomere length.
The science of telomere biology is always moving forward, so I want you to take these three steps to help maintain the length of your telomeres.
Step 1) Lower Your Homocysteine: This amino acid can build up inside you and threaten your heart health … but high homocysteine also triples the speed at which your telomeres shorten.10 Here’s what I use with my patients (amounts are daily) to lower homocysteine:
- Vitamin B12 – 500 mcg
- Folic acid – 800 mcg
- Vitamin B6 – 25 mg
- Riboflavin (B2) – 25 mg
- TMG (Trimethylglycine) – 500 mg
You can find these at your local health food store. If you don’t want to take them all separately, you can use the formula I give my patients.
Step 2) Take Vitamin C: Recent studies now show this antioxidant can slow telomere shortening by over 50%.11 I recommend 3000 mg per day split into two doses.
Step 3) Eat More Brightly-Colored Vegetables: People who eat the most vegetables have significantly longer telomeres. And vegetables with the most beta carotene have the biggest benefit to telomere length.12
By bright I also mean bright green, too. This also includes spirulina and chlorella, two little known but powerful superfoods.
And stay tuned because tomorrow I’m going to show you another completely natural way to maintain your telomeres. It’s a great story…
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD