Last week, I told you about a ticking time bomb that goes off in your body every day. Every time it goes off, it destroys a cell in your body. This time bomb, of course, is your telomeres. These chromosome end-caps are the new rage in science and medicine because they hold the secret to longevity. The longer you keep your telomeres, the longer your cells live - and the longer you’ll live. But there’s a problem - a big problem.
The problem has to do with telomerase - the enzyme that adds bases to the ends of telomeres, keeping them long. Let me explain. With young cells, the telomerase prevents telomeres from wearing down too much. But as the cells divide over and over again, it uses up the telomerase. As the enzyme becomes deficient, the telomeres grow shorter and the cells age.
That’s what happens with normal, healthy cells. But something else happens with cancer cells. As you may know, cancer cells are immortal - as long as the host is alive. They don’t go through apoptosis - or natural cell death. The reason has to do with telomerase. Turns out this enzyme is a double-edged sword.
Cancer cells divide constantly. So they use a lot of telomerase. In order to avoid death, cancer cells actually produce their own telomerase. This keeps their telomeres long until the host dies.
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At this point, you’re probably seeing the problem. If you increase telomerase to help your healthy cells, you’re also going to help cancer cells. It’s a deadly Catch 22.
So here’s the $64 question: Is it possible to increase telomerase without helping cancer grow? The answer is yes. We have to remember a few things about telomerase. First, telomerase is a naturally occurring enzyme that’s always in your body. Second, the telomerase cancer cells use is self-produced. And third, there’s no evidence that naturally increasing telomerase encourages cancer cells. In fact, it’s just the opposite. All of the evidence suggests that increasing telomerase activity fights cancer and extends life. One study in 2008 helped mice live 40% longer when the researchers increased their telomerase activity.
So there’s no reason to fear increasing telomerase activity. But you have to do it right. You have to assist your body in its natural process of increasing the enzyme. You can’t force more telomerase into your system, which scientists will undoubtedly try to do with drugs. You have to do it naturally. This is a delicate balance.
And this is where diet, exercise, and supplements come in. Keeping our normal cells healthy has to be our top priority. Eating right, getting regular exercise, and taking nutrients, like those in Advanced Telomere Support, will keep cells healthy and reduce the need for dividing. The theory circulating in telomere research labs is that if telomerase makes cancer cells immortal, it could make normal cells immortal - or at least close to immortal - as well.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.