What Are Telomeres?

A picture of a Telomere

What Are Telomeres?

(3 minute read)

The length of a person’s telomeres is a good indicator of his or her overall health status. Poor lifestyle decisions have been associated with shortening of telomeres. Short telomeres have been associated with cellular ageing and dysfunction. The real biological age of a person’s body may be more or less than their chronological age. Telomere length is considered a key marker in measuring a person’s biological age as opposed to their chronological age.

Telomeres are the two protective endcaps at the end of each of your chromosomes (the molecules in most of our cells that contain your genetic information). The easiest way to explain telomeres is to compare them to the plastic endcaps on your shoelaces. They are responsible for cell division and also protecting the chromosome from freying. As long as they are able to successfully divide and recreate your DNA code the intent of your cells stay in tact. Unfortunately, as much as telomeres keep your DNA from tangling, they shorten with each division. They have approximately 50-70 divisions built in before they start freying, tangling and ultimately dying. The dying off of a cell is called senescence and it is these dead cells that cause ageing. In effect a cell loses its ability to do what it was intended to do and by dying causes ageing and age-related diseases. You can imagine youthfulness being the result of an abundance of live cells and ageing being the result of an accumulation of dead (senescent) cells.

Research is increasingly showing that longer telomeres are associated with healthy longevity and shorter ones with diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardio vascular disease and osteoporosis. 

Fortunately there is good news in the form of telomerase. Telomerase is an enzyme (protein) that works to restore telomere function. Sadly the availability of this enzyme also depletes with age, but here is the good news – with some fancy footwork we can restore its levels.

  1. Lose weight
  2. Exercise more
  3. Stress less
  4. Choose the correct supplements
  5. Eat a telomere protective diet

If you want learn more about which telomere lengthening supplements to take and/or which foods promote increased levels of telemorase download our FREE ebook – Eat Well, Live Healthy, Extend Your Life