Can Telomeres Reduce Aging and Improve Longevity?

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I’ve talked about aging in the podcast and that we finally have some control over how we fall. But today I want to talk about telomeres and how they affect aging. The telomeres are an interesting piece of the puzzle that shows us more than we ever thought (biologically least!) Of our age.

What are telomeres?

If you think of a high school biology class, you will remember that our genetic material is arranged on a DNA “staircase” called a chromosome (or DNA strand). The end of each chromosome contains a little bit of DNA that protects the genetic data and makes the division of the cells possible. These telomeres act as caps at the end of the chromosome. The hats are often compared to fish shoe tips. These tips prevent shoes from fighting as telomeres protect DNA from “fighting” or mixing.

But as human cells divide, telomeres become shorter and shorter. When DNA is transcribed, RNAs (DNA messenger) are attached to slightly different locations, shortening telomeres. Finally the cell is unable to split. When this happens, it causes cell death or inactivity.

In 1933, Barbara MacClintock (the first woman to win a non-shared Nobel Prize in Physics or Medicine) saw something interesting about DNA. He speculated that some types of chromosomes are serous but have been retained.

In the 1970s, other researchers, including Elizabeth Blackburn (who later won the Nobel Prize for her work) discovered telomeres.

How does telomerase affect the aging process?

Telomeres have an interesting relationship with aging. More specifically, how long do they reflect how old the body is biologically. Did research reveal that short telomeres are associated with age, cancer and other diseases?

In fact, the largest study to date has shown that shorter lengths of telomere are associated with a higher risk of mortality (even after controlling for lifestyle factors that shorten telomere lengths). ) People with the lowest telomeres were 23% more likely to die within 3 years. Telomeres is also associated with shortened immune systems, heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases.

But researchers are not sure whether telomere length actually causes aging or if it is a sign of aging. Although in both cases, telomere length is an interesting and telling sign of health.

But it’s not just that the telomere shortens at our age or the short telomeres show that we’re growing faster than others. What is really surprising is that the telomere length can change. Telomere lengths can be stopped or replaced with long tails.

So, it’s not just a matter of aging, and our age, of luck or genetics. We have the ability to choose how we age in the way we treat our telomeres. In summary, telomerase studies tell us that what we eat and how we live will improve or improve our cells’ recovery.

Telomere length in children

Interestingly, children are known to have short telomeres due to certain life events that cause stress.

In fact, research shows that the more stress a mother’s maternal stress, the shorter the length.

Initial other pressures (such as neglect) at home are one of the strongest indicators of telomere length. The reason for this is that this initial stress leads to young people, which is likely to cause chronic stress.

There is a lot of other research on this topic.

  • Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that parental decline (by death, divorce, or incarceration) is significantly associated with lower telomeres, especially in boys.
  • I published a 2017 study Pediatric Journal It is found that the duration of underage sleep is associated with telomeres in children.
  • I published a 2017 review Journal of Psychological Research It is found that early stress can cause early age and age-related illness in children.

Whether telomere length is due to aging or around it, evidence in children shows that in any case, telomere length is an important sign of health. Although some of this evidence is bleak, it is encouraging to know that even children with early depression whose telomere shorten can improve their health and subsequently lengthen their telomere with a healthy lifestyle choice. ۔

Are my telomeres tall?

Obviously, by looking in the mirror we cannot tell how tall our telomeres are. But there is a way to detect it. A service called Telkoll will measure your telomere length and give you your results so you can see how much work you need to do. They will also include some tips to lengthen your telomeres.

Telomeres: length telomeres

Researchers who discovered telomeres also discovered telomeres, an enzyme that helps to prolong telomeres. Telomeres are active in germ cells, fetal stem cells, and some white cells.

New research suggests that telomerase activity in the body has a direct effect on telomere length. A 2010 study showed that mice engineered to accelerate the aging of low telomerase. When the telomeres are replaced, the rats become more healthy.

However, other research also shows that telomeres are also lacking. This study suggests that cancer cells may need telomeres to grow. In other words, as we age, telomerase deficiency can really be protective against cancer.

That being said, there is no research showing that the kinds of activities (healthy lifestyle choices) that lead to cancer from the natural production of telomeres. And in many cases, these activities have been shown to be protective against cancer risk. So, it seems that gene therapy with telomeres is probably a bad idea. But improving our productivity is probably a good thing.

In her book Elizabeth Blackburn, along with health psychologist Elisa Apple The effect of telomere: A revolutionary approach to living young, healthy, tall, Agree. They recommend choosing healthy lifestyles to support longer telomeres and longer “health periods.”

According to Blackburn and Apple, the duration of health is a part of life that is free from human illness. This is a term I hear more and more from experts that I interview, such as Walter Longo and others.

How to improve longevity (with telomeres)

Artificially increasing telomerase levels in the body may not be the answer, but we can improve the body so it naturally produces the right amount of telomerase. Here are some tips on best research:

Reducing mental stress

We already know how relaxing and stressful it is to our health, but here’s another reason to make it a priority. According to the APA, the low telomere length ratio is a consistent predictor.

  • A 2004 study found that women caring for sick children (compared to healthy caring women) had significantly smaller telomeres.
  • According to a 2016 article, African American boys in a stressful home environment had 40% fewer telomeres than peers in non-stressful situations.
  • The 2016 review showed a small but significant decrease in telomeres length due to tension but cautioned that the publication may be due to bias. It also notes that long-term “chronic” stress can have a greater impact and should be studied.

Detecting daily activity to reduce stress improves overall health! Can go a long way, and maybe even a length! Here are some ideas:

  • Take daily walks – Gentle exercise is a great way to reduce stress and has the added benefit of building a strong body. If you are just getting started, aim for a light sweat break.
  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants – Antioxidants help fight inflammation and oxidative stress. The Whole30 or Whales protocol can be a great place to start, or double the serving of veggies on each plate!
  • Get enough sleep – Sleep is important for both adults and children. Here are 6 ways to get better sleep.
  • Avoid toxins – Indoor air at home is sometimes the worst offender!

Choose whatever activity makes you feel comfortable (and you really will!).

As moms, we want to keep ourselves to the end, but research is piling up, which shows that having stress-reducing activities in our day is just as important as eating healthy!


Exercise is important for a healthy life, but as it turns out, it can have an impact on telomere length. Published in a 2015 study Medicine and science in sports and exercise, The longer someone uses their telomeres the longer. However, only 10-15 minutes of exercise has an effect on telomere length.

Exercise is difficult when it’s not interesting. Check out these fun ways to exercise as a family.


Diet is one of the most important factors in a healthy life, so it’s not surprising that it can also affect telomere length.

A study I published in 2014 American Journal of Public Health Found a link between sugar sweet soda and short telomeres. There was no root for artificially sweetened sodas. (To be clear, soda of any kind is not for anyone trying to stay healthy!)

There have been numerous studies that have shown that proper levels of vitamins and minerals help to keep telomeres long. Some vitamins and minerals that are important for long telomeres include:

  • Vitamin D – In a 2007 study, women who had high vitamin D levels were tall. Vitamin D is also anti-inflammatory, which reduces oxidative stress.
  • Magnesium – A 2012 study found that magnesium stabilizes DNA and promotes DNA replication and transcription. It also increased telomere length.
  • Vitamin K2 – A 2008 study has shown that vitamin K use increases longevity.
  • Folate – A 2009 study showed that folate was important for the maintenance of deleterious integrity and DNA methylation (which affects telomeres length).
  • B12 – In the 2016 study, 12 levels were associated with telomeres length.

Additionally, a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Found that antioxidants are important in reducing oxidative stress (and chronic inflammation) that can lead to telomere shortening.

A final note: Supplements were helpful in improving telomere length, but antioxidant rich foods as a source of vitamin C and E. Proof that you cannot supplement a poor diet!

Telomeres: Bottom line

Telomere length is an important indicator of overall health and biological aging. Fortunately there are some lifestyle choices we can make to improve telomere length and prevent premature aging. Finally, genetics are not fixed in stone and can be manipulated with a healthy lifestyle (for the better!)

Do you think your telomeres should be any lower than them? Why?

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Ann Shipley, a board certified in interior medicine and a certified Functional Medicine Physician in Austin, Texas. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk to your doctor.


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