Growing older is associated with shortening of the tips of your DNA called telomeres. This shortening has been associated with development of chronic degenerative conditions and simply the “aging” process. If we can prevent this shortening, studies have shown a potential fountain of youth to keeping you younger.
Your telomeres can be stimulated to regrow through induction of a natural enzyme called telomerase. This enzyme keeps the length of the telomeres longer by putting the cut off part of the telomere back on it. You could say that it regenerates your telomere length.
It does this by “flipping a switch” on your chromosomes. All your cells actually have the potential to produce telomerase because they all have similar DNA. But this ability is “turned off” in almost all your cells as we get older.
Luckily, the cells that allow you to reproduce have the gene turned on, so you can continue to reproduce and, since everyone has this same ability, our species does not become extinct. If you could flip the switch on all your other cells in your body, they also would be able to preserve their cell line and potentially allow you to be able to live longer. This gene produces the telomerase enzyme which keeps your telomeres long, essentially keeping them “young”.
Studies have shown that lengthening of the telomeres results in better health and thus potentially longer life. Most of the longevity studies have been performed on animals so this revelation is relatively new and since humans live long lives, actual studies on enhancing human life are still in the making. However, these animal studies are very encouraging. Using a telomerase activator has been shown to be an important part of a health maintenance program.
There now is an important supplements that you can take that can prevent this shortening and potentially increase your telomere length. It is an extract from the Chinese herb astragulus, long time used by them for its longevity properties. Called TA 65, this preparation has been shown to stimulate telomerase activity, resulting in lengthening of the telomere which has been linked to life extending enhancement.
The ground-breaking study that demonstrated the improved longevity of this compound was done by Dr. DePinho during the last decade. Dr. DePinho is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of applied cancer science at the Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
He demonstrated that a “telomere-building enzyme” was turned on by this extract, which in turn transformed old mice into looking and acting like young mice after taking it for only one month. The mice brain cells became re-energized and their shrunken brains rejuvenated into larger brain size, confirmed by MRI. The previously old non-sexually active no sperm mice became sexually active mice that produced sperm. In addition, they went on to live longer and healthier lives with better quality (for a mouse).
You may wonder, when you grow older, will you continue to have good health? Will a cancer finally zap your body from you? No one can predict this, of course. However, there are actions you can take to decrease your risk of developing many degenerative diseases, including cancers. A recent study in Aging Cell periodical demonstrated that you can grow older without having an increased risk of cancer by keeping your telomeres longer using a preparation that stimulates telomerase activity.
To summarize, younger cells have longer telomere length while older cells have shorter ones. We now have technologies that can lengthen telomeres. You could say we have the ability now to drink from the fountain of youth.
When this new biotechnological advancement first came out, it was very expensive and most people couldn’t afford it. You had to spend $25,000 a year to be able to take the therapy. Because of the demand, prices have come down tremendously and today you can get this miracle substance for as low as $200 per month if taken once a day. However, some people may want (or need) to take it three times a day.
To know how much you need to take, first get a telomere blood test done. It is an easy blood test that you can do that will tell you how long your telomeres are in your blood, which correlates the length of them in the rest of your body. The test then compares this length with other people the same age as you. The result is that you will know if you have shorter or longer telomeres compared to other people your age.
If your telomere length is comparable or longer than others your age, to help prevent further shortening, take one TA-65 a day. If it is shorter, that means you are “aging” faster than most people, you may want to take 2 to 3 capsules daily, depending on your budget.
In addition to the TA-65, you may want to take further actions to lengthen your telomeres, which may include changing some lifestyle habits and taking beneficial supplements. Read our next segment on telomeres to learn more.
 Jaskelioff M., Muller F.L., Paik J.H., Thomas E., Jiang S., Adams A.C., Sahin E., Kost-Alimova M., Protopopov A., Cadiñanos J., Horner J.W., Maratos-Flier E., Depinho R.A. Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase-deficient mice. Nature. 2011;469(7328):102-106.
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 Jaskelioff M., Muller F.L., Paik J.H., Thomas E., Jiang S., Adams A.C., Sahin E., Kost-Alimova M., Protopopov A., Cadiñanos J., Horner J.W., Maratos-Flier E., Depinho R.A. Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase-deficient mice. Nature. 2011 Jan;469(7328):102-106.
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