Since the discovery of telomeres, doctors and scientist have dreamed of using them to control aging. In 1973, Alexey Olonikov discovered that telomeres, which are tiny units of DNA at the very end of each chromosome, shorten each time the cell divides. Hence, as you get older and your telomeres get shorter, you are at increased risk for many age-related diseases including death. The theory is that if you can keep your telomeres from shortening, you can live much longer with a higher quality of life.
Most recently, Ronald DePinho, a cancer geneticist at the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, was surprised to find that when he gave a certain enzyme, called telomerase, to older animals, these animals showed a dramatic reversal of aging. (Telomerase prevents the telomeres from shortening and even has the ability to lengthen them.) He described the outcome as near 'the mythical Fountain of Youth' that was searched for by Ponce de Leon.
The downside to giving telomerase to humans, at the present time, says DePinho, "is that it seems to help existing tumors grow faster. If treatment can be made safe, it could lead to breakthroughs in treating a variety of diseases of aging."
While the possibilities of telomerase are exciting, it looks as if the technology is still in the research phase. So until the science can be worked out, should we (humans) just sit around and do nothing about our telomere length? Is there anything that can be done now?
The good news is - Yes! There are many proven health strategies that can slow telomere shortening while effectively decreasing premature aging. At The Renewal Point, we have become experts at two of them, namely hormone balancing and exercise.
HORMONE BALANCE-which has been so valuable for women in many other ways has also been shown to slow down telomere shortening. Dr. Richard Cawthon of the Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, found that telomere lengths were longer in postmenopausal women who had taken hormones than in postmenopausal women without a history of hormone therapy.
HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING- which is known to trim and slim our bodies has also been found to slow down telomere shortening. In a recent study published in Mechanisms of Aging and Development, the author’s state: "There is a direct association between reduced telomere shortening in your later years and high-intensity-type exercises."
At The Renewal Point, we use the science/evidence-based methods of natural hormone balancing and physical training, to help our patients achieve healthy aging. Together, with nutrition and toxin elimination, we see improvements in sexuality, brain function, body composition, physical conditioning, cardiovascular health, skin, hair, nails, energy, and vitality.
With over 30 years of experience and numerous board certifications and credentials, Dr. Watts, MD, ND, MSNM and Helena Williams, ARNP, MS are experts in the science and art of Integrative and Age Management Medicine. If you are interested in learning more about things you can safely do to live a happier and longer life, we encourage you to call us at 941-926-4905, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or RSVP for an upcoming seminar.
- Sex Hormones Modulate the Length of Telomere. Rodrigo T. Calado, et al. Blood 2006 108:182. www.gloodjournal.org/content/108/182
- The Immortality Edge. Dave Woynarowski et al. 2010
- Telomerase Reverses Ageing Process. Ewen Callaway. Nature News. Nov 2010.