How old are you really? Welcome to the world of anti-aging medicine and the Telomere test, which serves as a prognostic marker for aging, disease, and premature morbidity. Telomeres are DNA at the end of each chromosome that serve as a cap to one’s genetic material. When a cell replicates, its telomere typically shortens. The shorter a telomere is, the shorter the cell’s lifespan.
In addition to being a marker for cellular aging, shorter telomeres are associated with:
- metabolic abnormalities
- degenerative processes
- nutritional deficiencies
- cardiovascular disease
A recently published study led by Dr. Dean Ornish revealed that – surprise? – improved diet, increased physical activity, better stress management, and social support changes actually increased telomere length in the treatment group, whereas the control group’s telomere length shortened per the typical aging rate.
When consuming an anti-inflammatory, whole-food diet with an emphasis on raw vegetables and fruits, as well as high quality oils and fats such as are found in wild-caught fish and fish oils, coconut oil, and other omega-3 oils, the rate of telomere shortening is curbed (or actually reversed, as this latest study showed).
If you want to literally “grow out” your telomeres, I recommend you study up on and implement the 10 tips, go out for a daily walk, and enjoy a healthy social milieu. To test your telomere length, please visit Spectracell Laboratory’s site to familiarize yourself with the testing process and to order a test kit. Alternatively, you may find a clinician in your area to administer and interpret the test.