Did you know there’s a ticking time bomb inside your body? The fuse is really slow. But once it finally explodes, death occurs. No, not your death. I’m talking about the death of your cells. Of course, the more rapid these little explosions occur in your body, the weaker you become and the closer you are to actually dying.
Science hasn’t known about these fuses for very long. Elizabeth Blackburn discovered them back in the 1980s. Her discovery was so groundbreaking, she won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2009. Thanks to her work, we now know how that we have some control over how long it takes these fuses to burn down. And, if we take the right actions, we might even be able to make the fuses a little bit longer.
Blackburn’s discovery was something we’ve talked about before - telomeres. These are caps on the end of your chromosomes that keep your DNA from unraveling. They look a little like the plastic tips on shoelaces. And just like your shoelaces unravel once those plastic tips wear off, so does your DNA. But as frustrating as it is to have your shoelaces unravel, the consequences of your DNA unraveling is much worse. That’s why I prefer to compare telomeres to a fuse on a ticking time bomb. Letting your DNA unravel is like a bomb going off in slow motion. The devastation, while microscopic, is catastrophic to your cells.
Each time your cells divide, these fuses get a little shorter. When they get too short, the cell can no longer divide; it becomes inactive or “senescent” or it dies. This shortening process is associated with aging, frailty, diseases (like cancer), and a higher risk of death.
Here’s how it works. The length of telomeres on white blood cells ranges from 8,000 base pairs in newborns to 3,000 base pairs in adults and as low as 1,500 in elderly people. Each time the cell divides, an average cell loses 30 to 200 base pairs from the ends of its telomeres. You can see why this is a slow fuse. It takes time. By the time you’re in your 60s or 70s, your base pairs have been whittled down considerably.
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So the key is to keep telomeres from becoming even shorter. Obviously, the earlier you are when you take action, the better off you’ll be. But you can start at any point in your life.
This is where Blackburn’s research really is amazing. She discovered that the secret to keeping your telomeres from shortening is to increase the activity of an enzyme called telomerase. This enzyme adds bases to the ends of telomeres. In young cells, telomerase keeps telomeres from wearing down too much. But as cells divide repeatedly, it uses up the telomerase. As the enzyme becomes deficient, the telomeres grow shorter and the cells age.
So how can you correct a telomerase deficiency? After all, you can’t take a telomerase supplement. You won’t find this enzyme available at any store. But you can buy nutrients that increase the activity of telomerase.
One study found that “Specific nutrients provide all the necessary building blocks to support telomere health and extend lifespan. This is the case of folate vitamins (B, D, E, C), zinc, and polyphenol compounds, such as resveratrol, grape seed extract, and curcumin. Several foods - such as tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel, halibut, anchovies, cat-fish, grouper, flounder, flax seeds, sesame seeds, kiwi, black raspberries, green tea, broccoli, sprouts, red grapes, tomatoes, olive fruit - are a good source of antioxidants. These, combined with a Mediterranean type of diet containing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains would help protect our chromosome ends.”
So you can buy nutrients and foods that help “support telomere health an extend lifespan.” Many of the nutrients you’re already taking will help. But you can supercharge what you’re already taking by adding a formula that’s designed to increase telomerase activity. This formula is Advanced Telomere Support. It has nutrients proven to increase telomerase activity and lengthen those fuses.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.