Our cells do not remain the same during our lives. In their majority, they are divided replacing the worn cells. The frequency of division and replacement differ from organ to organ. These divisions and replacements cannot happen indefinitely. There is a limit. In each division, our cells get older and get closer to their limit.
What is Telomere?
From the Greek words: Telos=end and Meros= part
Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age. They are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes. Telomeres are shortened as we age, but they can also be shortened by stress, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and a poor diet.
In 1961, Leonard Hayflick states that our cells have a certain limit on the divisions they can make. This number is called the Hayflick limit and determines our TELOMERE lifetime.
Each telomere, at capture, has a length of 15,000 units (bases). In each division, a part of these bases is not replicated, and thus the length of the telomeres decreases gradually. In each division of the cell, the telomeres diminish, eventually losing the cell’s ability to multiply and die. Much of the telomere is lost during the embryonic period. At birth, the length of our telomere chromosomes has already dropped to 10,000. During our lives as the cells are divided, the length of the telomeres continues to decrease and when we reach 5,000 then we die.
The enzyme of Immortality!
In our body, there is an enzyme that inhibits the shrinkage of telomeres. That enzyme is called telomerase. Telomerase is the mechanism that regulates the gradual aging of our cells. Telomeres shorten each time a cell divides and at a certain point, when they reach a critical length, the cell can no longer divide and will die. Telomerase lengthens the telomeres, slows down and is likely to inhibit cell aging.
Recent researches show that lifestyle-related risk factors have a negative impact on the action of telomerase. Changes in our lifestyle significantly increase the action of telomerase and reinforce the corrective mechanisms in human cells.
Factors that activate the action of telomerase:
- Maintaining low levels of Homocysteine (examining the levels of Homocysteine, can show the degree of oxidative stress).
- Vitamin C has been proved to slow the reduction of telomeres in doses between 1 and 3 grams per day.
- Research on zinc metallic minerals (25-50 mg per day) and magnesium (400-800 mg per day) shows that it is vital for DNA replication during cell division. Lack of these nutrients can lead to DNA damage and shorter telomeres.
- Tocotrienols are a group of chemicals that are part of the vitamin E family. Mixed tocotrienols (a full-spectrum form of Vitamin E) at a dose of 400 to 800 IU per day can restore the length of telomeres and prevent their loss by helping to produce the enzyme telomerase.
- Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), a very powerful natural antioxidant enzyme produced inside our cells. Researchers are now studying the potential of superoxide dismutase as an anti-aging treatment since it is now known that SOD levels are falling, while free radical levels increase as we get older.
- TA 65 is a chemical isolated from the plant Astragalus membranaceous, commonly known as Huang Qi in Chinese. Although the level of TA65 at a precautionary daily dose of 10 grams of Astragalus is probably quite small, it still works well in preventing a list of diseases.
- Meditation Samatha: Calming meditation. It is the oldest form of meditation and is used to calm the mind and transfer the individual to higher levels of consciousness (jhanic). The results of Samatha’s meditation are temporary. Vipassana: Internal meditation. This form of meditation is used to understand the true nature of things, which is very difficult to achieve because human beings are used to seeing things distorted by the prejudices, views, and experiences of their past.
- green tea
As an epilogue: Inner happiness, good nutrition, exercise are the keys to a long and healthy life!