Although many of us eat and maintain a healthy life style to look and feel better, there is a superior reason. That is to BE BETTER and LIVE LONGER. One can be productive and happy as a centenarian (living 100+ years. Over 70,000 centenarians in America!). How can you know how long and well you will live? There is a laboratory study for it, called TELOMERE TESTING. Until the summer of 2010, the test was prohibitively expensive, but now for less than $400, you can obtain your report card and intervene on life style to get a better and better score and either achieve your goal or come very close to it.
Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome whose primary function is to prevent chromosomal “fraying” when a cell replicates. As a cell ages, its telomeres become shorter. How much shorter is governed by genetic factors and environmental stressors. Eventually, the telomeres become too short to allow cell replication, the cell stops dividing and will ultimately die which is a normal biological process. The more of our cells die, the older and frailer we become until we ourselves die in that all our reserves are gone and we succumb to disease or just old age. The Telomere Test can determine the length of a patient’s telomeres in relation to the chronological age. The Patient Telomere Score is calculated based on the patient’s telomere length on white blood cells (T-lymphocytes). This is the average compared to telomere length on lymphocytes from a sample of the American population in the same age range. The higher the telomere score, the “younger” the cells and the longer and better that person will live. Yearly, the test can be repeated and you can work harder or do other interventions that will enhance your score and your life.
Diet plays a large role in telomere length. The best but the most difficult is caloric restriction to the point of just sustenance, a step away from starvation. Far easier and almost as good is eating correctly for your Apo E type, going easy on meat, with eating whole nutrient dense foods, as raw as possible, consumption of Omega 3s, and staying away from grains and processed foods. According to a study of patients with established cardiovascular disease in the January 20, 2010 issue of JAMA, increased telomere and survival rates occurred among individuals who had a high dietary intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids. In this 5 year study, the researchers found that individuals with the lowest DHA+EPA experienced the most rapid rate of telomere shortening, whereas those in the highest had the slowest rate of shortening. Levels of DHA+EPA were associated with less telomere shortening before and after sequential adjustment for established risk factors and potential confounders. For each 1-standard deviation increase in red cell Omega 3 levels was associated with a 32 percent reduction in the odds of telomere shortening! Both the micronutient and the Omega 3 levels tests are available at some labs and physicians offices and is preformed by Spectracell Laboratories.
Minimizing emotional (psychological) and physiological (infections, trauma and surgery) stress will keep your telomeres longer and you healthier. Additionally, increasing antioxidants slows telomere shortening. Physical excerise with adequate antioxidants will also give longer telomers. Common sense dictates that decreasing cardiovascular risk factors (Lipids, Homocysteine, Blood Pressure, Hs-C Reactive Protein, Glucose etc.) and correcting micronutrient deficencies such as Vitamins, Minerals, and Glutathione will preserve the telemomere length. Periodically getting rid of our poison buildup by colonic, and liver cleanses and from the skin by sweating (artificially by sauna or by heavy exercise) and minimizing the toxins in our water, air and food will go a long way in keeping our telomers longer. Keeping our hormones (Thyroid, Sex and Adrenal hormones) in balance and not getting sick also keeps our telomers longer. To not get sick means keeping our immune system healthy to include the consumption of Pre and Probiotics such as high-amylose-resistant cornstarch laced with Lactobacillus rhamnosus (PL60) and other Bacteroidetes spiecies. Staying out of harm's way for bodily damage in our daily pursuits such as not over indulging in alcohol and dangerous sports and occupations will keep our telomers and our lives longer.