So what do shoe lace caps, the fountain of youth and Cameron Diaz have in common?… Telomeres
There is a lot of noise about telomeres and the role they have in combating ageing and degenerative health conditions. Cameron Diaz wrote a book about them, more supplements are being released supporting them and they have been described by some as the key to the fountain of youth.
Shoe lace caps? a good analogy to describe what they are. Telomeres are the cap at the end of each strand of DNA in our cells. They protect our chromosomes in a similar way to the cap at the end of shoe lace protects the lace from unravelling. (That shoe lace cap, by the way is called an aglet, useful knowledge for you next pub trivia night!)
Telomeres shorten in length as we age, in fact they shorten with each cell division. Once telomere reach a critical limit the cell loses the power of division and growth (senescence) which in turn affects our health and lifespan.The length of our telomeres is associated with our biological age as opposed to our chronological age. Shorter telomeres have been associated with increased disease rates and the aging process.
The good news is that lifestyle factors and diet can affect the rate of the shorten of the telomeres, thereby slowing the rate of cellular aging and the incidents of some diseases.
How to support our Telomeres:
1. Good diet
A diet based on good nutritional principles, high in antioxidants and fibre. Studies have found a positive correlation between longer telomeres and fibre and anti-oxidant intake. A good supplement with high antioxidants may also prove beneficial. Look for supplements with the following ingredients:
- Grapeseed extract (antioxidant)
- Acerola (antioxidant, vitamin C)
- Inulin (fibre)
- Zinc (immune function)
- Sacha Inchi (fibre and antioxidant)
2. Stop smoking
Smoking has been associated with accelerated telomere shortening. Just another reason in a million others to drop the ciggies.
3. Stop stressing.
Stress releases hormones from the adrenal glands which have been shown to damage DNA and accelerate telomere shortening.
4. Start moving.
Moderate exercise can reduce harmful fats and help get rid of harmful waste products supporting DNA and telomere length.