It is an intriguing thought. We live in a youth obsessed society. Haven’t we all reminisced about the glory days gone bye and longed to take a few years off of life’s odometer? As boomers age, they optimistically proclaim that 50 is the new 30 or 70 is the new 50. Is that true or just wishful thinking? Better nutrition, clean water, sanitation and medical advances have allowed us to live quite a bit longer than a century ago. Following a healthy lifestyle can lessen the damage done by the aging process; that’s part of age management. But recent discoveries now point the way to actually getting younger in the process. Maybe now we can think about making 100 the new 50.
What causes aging? To understand aging you need to look at the level of the cell. It is a complicated process that involves a number of factors, including free-radical damage, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation to name a few. Ultimately all of these processes damage a part of our chromosomes called telomeres. The telomere is akin to your biological clock; determining the rate at which you age. You can think of it like the fuse on a stick of dynamite. It shortens as we age until it reaches a critical point signaling cell death. Shorter telomeres also correlate with the state of your health. Numerous studies have documented that individuals making healthy lifestyle choices have fewer chronic diseases and in most cases longer telomeres.
It would stand to reason that keeping your telomeres long would lead to a longer, healthier, more vital life. Not surprisingly, eating more fruits and vegetables, taking the right supplements, exercising regularly, meditating and managing stress can help you maintain your telomeres. A simple blood test can reveal your telomere length and biological age. One of my patients, Lucy, came to me to optimize her health after going through a tough life transition. Her telomere length was like an 80 year old and she was just 69 at the time. After three years on our Peak Health Program that included nine months of TA65, a unique supplement clinically shown to activate the telomerase enzyme, her telomere length is now like a 64 year old! Talk about age reversal; she looks wonderful and feels great.
Have we found the holy grail of age management and longevity? Perhaps. But we are only in the infancy of the promise of telomerase activation and regenerative medicine. What we know for sure, is that eating well, taking the right supplements, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, getting adequate sleep and managing stress are all keys to a healthy life. Do you know your telomere length?