Research has recently discovered an ‘immortalizing enzyme’ called telomerase. Telomerase promotes healthy cell division and protects us from the genetic expression of mutation and disease. It helps guard us against early aging and untimely death. In short, healthy cell division aided by telomerase supports our adaptation to life’s changes in body, brain and mind.
Chromosomes contain all the information that enables our cells to divide. A healthy human chromosome will engage in cell division approximately 50 times throughout the span of its duration. The ends of our chromosomes are protected by proteins called telomeres. Think of them as protective plastic shoe lace caps that keep our chromosomes from fraying. Every time a cell divides the telomeres shorten and aging ensues, unless there is a sufficient amount of telomerase to protect and repair them.
Telomere and chromosomal damage may result in gene mutation, disease, premature ageing and untimely death. When protective telomeres get too short, cells die. Telomerase enzymes promote longer healthier telomeres. Telomeres are now considered reliable predictors of longevity. In fact, the single most important factor in anti-aging is long telomeres, as longer telomeres may better protect and preserve chromosomes. According to the latest nutri-genomic (gene based nutrition) research, there are a number of specific foods, nutrients and lifestyle behaviors that enable us to significantly lengthen our telomeres by promoting the production of telomerase. This has been scientifically proven to actually reverse our aging processes. Thus, in order to reverse aging in body, brain and mind, one must adopt a nutrition and lifestyle program that is designed to increase telomerase production.
Free radicals are mutated molecules that trigger aging and disease. They are ‘vampire like’ cells that seek to rob electrons from healthy cells, converting them into free radicals.
1. Donors: Donor antioxidants are nutrients (Vitamins A/C/E etc) that protect healthy cells from free radical vampire attacks by interceding and donating their electrons to the vampire radicals. This temporarily quenches the vampire radicals. This allows healthy cells to go free and unharmed.
2. Missionaries: Missionary antioxidants (L-glutathione /N-Acetyl-Cysteine/ Alpha Lipoic Acid) are much more aggressive at protecting and preserving us. They actually convert free radical vampires back into healthy, protective antioxidants. Thus, missionaries significantly turn the tide from damage to protection by converting attackers into protectors.
In order to lengthen and protect telomeres and support anti-aging one must first adopt an anti-inflammatory diet. We now know that 72% of all aging and disease are caused by inflammation.
A minimum of 40 minutes of aerobic exercise four times per week has been shown to significantly lengthen and protect telomeres and thus support anti-aging. In 2010 German researchers compared the aging chemistries of sedentary versus physically fit and active subjects noting what they called a striking difference. Studies consistently reveal sedentary subjects as having 40% shorter telomeres on average.
Stress management strategies that include: tai chi, yoga martial arts, meditation and visualization have been shown to lengthen telomeres and reverse aging for body and mind. Researchers have consistently shown a 29% greater average length in telomeres among dedicated meditators.