Have you wondered what causes our bodies to age? Is there an internal clock in our bodies? Have you ever heard about telomeres? Learn how to maximize telomere length and increase life expectancy.
Our understanding of how our cells age, and how we can protect our cells from aging, is expanding at an amazingly quick pace. Several decades ago, scientists discovered telomeres. Telomeres are specialized nucleoprotein structures, which protect chromosome ends and have been implicated in the ageing process. Telomeres are considered an index of cell age and are like a clock of the cell’s lifespan. Telomere shortening means the cell’s lifespan is shortening.
Recent research shows that telomere shortening plays an important role in human disease and mortality. On the flip-side, long telomeres are related to healthy aging and overall longevity.
Prominent researchers believe that the length of our telomeres, mostly depends on our lifestyle, “The rate of telomere shortening is based on 30% of your genetic structure, because some people start with longer telomeres than others and for the rest 70% we are responsible for how fast we age.”
1. Exercise at least 1 hour 3 times a week
Physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, and can enhance endogenous antioxidant activity. Physical inactivity increases the risk of many age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Physical activity and exercise training have been associated not only with prevention and improvement of disease but also with telomere length.
Scientists in Germany have found that physical activity is associated with reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. They found that telomeres and telomere-regulating proteins determine the aging process on the cellular level.
2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Eating well is key to maintaining strength, energy, a healthy immune system and telomeres length. The key to a healthy balanced diet is not to ban or omit any foods or food groups but to balance what you eat by consuming a variety of foods from each food group in the right proportions for good health.
Researchers discussed the dietary patterns associated with telomere length in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” With data from 840 adults from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, researchers found associations between telomere length.
Researchers found that only intake of processed meat was associated with telomere length, with an inverse relationship being observed. Greater intake of processed meats, but not red meats, was associated with telomere shortening.
3. Abstain from smoking and alcohol consumption
Researchers evaluated the effect of smoking on telomere length and found significantly shorter telomeres in healthy individuals who smoked than in those who did not smoke.
The results from The Helsinki Businessmen Study demonstrate a graded and highly significant inverse relationship between midlife alcohol consumption and later telomere length. Older men with long-term abstinence, or very light alcohol consumption had both the longest telomeres and the smallest proportion of short telomeres in their peripheral blood leukocytes.
“Even moderate alcohol consumption-which is often recommended for cardiovascular prevention-is in the long-term associated with shorter telomeres,” – researchers said.
4. Deal with stress
In the study, published in the issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the UCSF-led team determined that chronic stress, and the perception of life stress, each had a significant impact on three biological factors-the length of telomeres, the activity of telomerase, and levels of oxidative stress-in immune system cells known as peripheral blood mononucleocytes, in healthy premenopausal women.
Stressful jobs cause faster aging. Finnish scientists have found that because of the stressful jobs we have the misfortune to look older than we actually are. By measuring telomeres they have found that their length varies on how much we are exposed to stress.
A long-term study of 100 children from Romanian orphanages suggests that the effects of childhood stress could be visible in their DNA as they grow up. Children who spent more time in institutional orphanages before the age of 5 have shorter telomeres than children who grew up in foster care, according to a study published in Molecular Psychiatry.
5. Sleep at least 7 hours
Researchers have discovered a link between sleep duration and telomere length. Subjects who reported higher average length of sleep, had longer telomeres. This was independent of other factors such as age, educational attainment, employment status, body mass index, smoking, hostility and symptoms of depression.
“Telomeres were shorter in men sleeping 5 hours or fewer compared with those sleeping more than 7 hours per night,” the researchers say, “These associations were independent of relevant covariates including depressive symptoms”.
Spurces: Beneficial Effects of Long-term Endurance Exercise on Leukocyte Telomere Biology | Association Between Processed Meat and Telomeres | Telomere Length, Cigarette Smoking, and Bladder Cancer Risk in Men and Women | Association between alcohol consumption in healthy midlife and telomere length in older men. The Helsinki Businessmen Study | Stress Makes Us Age Faster | Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Shorter Telomere Length.