A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration. Telomeres are longer in youth and progressively shorten with each cell division until a critical shortening has occurred which signals cell senescence or cell death. Shorter telomeres imply a shorter lifespan for the cell.
Shorter telomere length has also been associated with an increased risk for a number of chronic diseases including metabolic abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, dementia and premature death. This association has been theorized to be an affect of inflammation and oxidative stress or a combination of both. It has been found that telomeres are significantly shorter in people with aging-associated diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Telomere length provides the best measure of an individual’s biological age compared to their chronological age, where shorter telomeres reflect more advanced biological age. Telomeres shortening can be accelerated by harmful environmental factors like oxidative stress and unhealthy lifestyles. Age-related diseases and premature ageing syndromes are characterized by short telomeres.
Telomere length is maintained by an enzyme called telomerase. By adding base pairs to the end of the chromosomal strand, telomerase can increase the number of times a cell can divide or replicate, which ultimately prolongs the life of the cell. Telomerase is present but inactive in most human cells, but is active in stem cells, immune system cells, hair follicles and most cancer cells. It is clear that activated telomerase does not cause cancer but allows the cancerous cell to become immortal. Recent studies suggest that maintaining longer telomeres reduces the chance that a cell will become cancerous in the first place.
Life Length Telomere Test
Alternity Healthcare is the first practice in CT to partner with Life Length Labs, the worldwide leader in telomere testing, to offer the gold standard in telomere length assessment: Telomere Analysis Technology (TAT). TAT is the only technology in the world capable of measuring the percentge of criticaly short telomeres within the cells. This is the most relevnt indicator of telomere dysfunction and cellular aging.
Through a simple blood test, telomere length is determined in an individual’s lymphocytes, which is then compared to telomere length in a population of people with similar chronological age. In a few short weeks, you will have your detailed results with estimated biological age to look over. We will review your detailed results with you to fine tune your Peak Health Program for improvment or maintinance of your cellular health.
Strategies to maintain telomere length
Numerous studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle increases telomerase activity and is beneficial in controlling the aging process. Your Alternity Healthcare clinical team can help you identify the areas in which you can improve your lifestyle to promote cellualar health and recommend appropriate beneficial nutrirional supplements.