From microdermabrasion and chemical peels to Botox and injectible treatments, antiaging solutions run the gamut. But antiaging solutions aren’t all vanity-related. Premature aging is associated with greater risks than just wrinkles and thinning hair. Premature aging, linked to shortened telomeres, may cause higher risks of cancer, Alzeimer's disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
What Are Telomeres?
Researchers have found that the length of DNA segments, called telomeres, may signify our aging process. Telomeres are stretches of DNA at the end of chromosomes that are inside a cell nucleus. Chromosomes are threadlike DNA molecules that carry our genes. Telomeres prevent these chromosome ends from fraying or sticking, much like the plastic tips on shoelaces, describes Learn.Genetics, the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah Health Sciences.
How Do Telomeres and Aging Connect?
Each time a cell divides, telomeres shorten. Once telomeres get too short, the cell cannot divide (or it essentially dies). Scientists link this shortening to the aging process, along with cancer and increased risk of death. As your body loses telomeres and cells without replacements, the body begins to break down.
In other words, geneticist Richard Cawthon explains that shorter telomeres are linked to shorter lives. He and his colleagues at the University of Utah found that those over the age of 60 with shorter telomeres were three times more likely to die from heart disease and eight times more likely to die from infectious disease.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Help Lengthen Telomeres?
As science continues to determine the impact of telomeres on aging, researchers agree that longer telomeres are better, according to Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine. The following are a few ways to live well and promote longer telomeres:
- Stress Management: Chronic stress is known to be a predictor of shorter telomere length, according to the American Psychology Association. From neglect as a child to caregiving as an adult, the effects of stress can accelerate aging. Practicing yoga and meditation releases stress from the mind and body.
- Regular Exercise: Research found that active middle-aged adults looked younger compared to sedentary adults of the same age. In fact, aging runners had youthful telomeres and reduced telomere loss by about 75 percent. Exercise is also a stress-reliever, which further affects telomere length.
- Antioxidants and Vitamins: Foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants are believed to protect cells and telomeres. Help slow down the aging process with antioxidant foods (berries and artichokes), vitamin C foods (kale and oranges) and vitamin E foods (almonds and sweet potatoes).
What About Supplements?
One of the best ways to receive telomere-supporting nutrients is a diet full of real, wholesome foods. But supplements can further help support lengthening telomeres. Use this as a small guide:
- Take Supplements: Mayo Clinic provides a break down of who should take supplements. It emphasizes that adults age 50+ should take B12. Nutrients zinc, vitamin D, C and E, and Omega-3 also benefit telomere length and longevity for adults. But if you eat a well-balanced nutritious diet, you could forgo the expense of supplements.
- Product Safety and Quality: Although effectiveness is key, so is safety. Amway, for instance, promotes on Twitterthat a team of toxicologists ensure the company's product safety, set high standards and determine proper doses without risking adverse effects. Research products to ensure the company follows safety measures and quality assurance.
- Popular Supplements in Telomere Health: Popular supplements developed to help protect and increase telomere length include TA-65, astragalus extract, cycloastrogenol and Product B. Superfoodly breaks down these supplementsto expose why they support telomere health and fight overall aging.