Sherry A. Phillips

Suspense Author

Are Telomeres the Key to Longevity?


Some of you may be asking, what the heck is a telomere?

Believe me, several years ago, I was asking the same thing. Then I saw The Great Wizard’s show (aka Dr. Oz) and he explained what telomeres are and how they effect our health. Who doesn’t want to live a long, happy and healthy life?

To explain it like Dr. Oz, telomeres are like those plastic things on the end of your shoelaces. If they come off, the shoe laces get frayed. That normally happens to our telomeres as we age. They get frayed and shorten. When this happens, we start feeling and seeing the ravages of time on our bodies. Telomeres are segments of DNA at the ends of chromosomes.

We need to keep those telomeres healthy, long and strong to protect ourselves as we age.

This is one reason I follow Dan Buettner’s work with Blue Zone’s so carefully, because studies have shown that changes in diet, exercise, stress management and social support may result in longer telomeres, the parts of chromosomes that affect aging. His work with The Blue Zones studies all of those things and more.

Dr. Dean Ornish UCSF clinical professor of medicine and founder and President of Preventive Medicine Research Institute, stated in an interview, “Our genes, and our telomeres, are not necessarily our fate.

“So often people think ‘Oh, I have bad genes, there’s nothing I can do about it,’” Ornish said. “But these findings indicate that telomeres may lengthen to the degree that people change how they live. Research indicates that longer telomeres are associated with fewer illnesses and longer life.”

Life Style Changes_graphic_v2

Studies have linked telomere length to an array of chronic age-related conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, infections, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, along with some forms of cancer.

Basically, in theory, if telomeres never fray and shorten, cells might become immortal. Research suggests a way that might happen. For most of our adult lives, telomeres seem to stay fairly stable, shortening mostly after middle age. However, at any given age, there is a lot of variation in telomere length between each person. Some people’s telomeres are from two to three times longer than other people’s. Telomerase plays a role. This enzyme lengthens telomeres and prevents them from eroding. In fact, cells produce more telomerase to prevent the shortest telomeres from going critical.

Could enough telomerase prevent cells from dying?

That’s the question! Perhaps so and if so, isn’t it worth making the lifestyle choices necessary to live a long, healthy and happy life?

Watch this video with Dr. Ornish and learn more. Have a blessed day!

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One Reply

  1. Interesting! Now, I can do the diet and exercise, no problem. It’s the meditation for an hour a day that I’m not sure I have time for LOL But maybe I don’t have time to NOT do it!

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