Science is getting a handle on how your cells age. For example, researchers have discovered something called telomeres, which are protective caps at the ends of your chromosomes. Think of the plastic tips at the ends of your shoelaces. When the tips shred on those shoelaces, the shoelace becomes frayed and falls apart. The same thing happens when your cells divide, your cell protecting telomeres become shorter and shorter, until they malfunction or stop functioning altogether.

As your telomeres break down, they expose your chromosomes and DNA to damage, until your cells expire or start making unhealthy copies of themselves. This leaves you susceptible to the many issues associated with aging. Everything in your body can be fair game for cellular decline.

In a nutshell, telomeres act like “cellular time keepers,” who eventually tell your cells when to expire. Science Daily said it best in November 2012, “Significant Relationship Between Mortality and Telomere Length Discovered.”


Telomeres measure your cells’ age. They’re like a ticking clock counting down your cells’ lifespan. Shorter telomeres equal shorter lifespan for your cells. Research clearly shows that telomere shortening has a damaging impact on your health and maybe how long you live. There’s a direct link between shorter telomere length and serious health issues. In fact, the Washington Post in March 2011 had this headline, “Caps on Chromosomes May Reveal Health Risks.” On the flip side though, longer telomeres are linked to healthy aging and longer lifespan.


By slowing down the loss of your telomeres, it may be possible to extend your lifespan and perhaps stay younger longer. But here’s the bad news…as your telomeres shorten, your body produces cells that are older, weaker. That means your body becomes weaker and exposed to all sorts of serious heath issues.


If you’re willing to make difficult lifestyle changes in your diet, including restricting calories and perhaps maintaining a strenuous exercise regimen, those things might have a positive influence on your telomeres. But in addition, the exciting news is that scientists have now identified specific nutrients, phytonutrients and antioxidants that have a stimulating effect on telomere length. There’s excellent research on particular nutritional supplements that definitely have a powerful positive impact on your telomeres. These are natural ingredients that can now go inside your cells and provide rejuvenating support.


Elizabeth Blackburn is a research scientist. She has spent decades investigating, trying to figure out how we age. Finally, in 2009, Dr. Blackburn and two colleagues won the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.

They found out that telomeres are built and protected by an enzyme called telomerase. If telomerase activity is high, telomere length is protected and our cellular aging slows down, and now research clearly shows we can “activate” telomerase with particular nutrients, to repair and regenerate your telomeres. Telomerase is sometimes called your “Fountain of Youth” enzyme. It acts like “telomere support system.”


When the telomerase enzyme is active, it tells your cells to create a younger version of you. If we slow the aging of our telomeres, it‘s very possible that we’ll have longer, healthier lives. The highly respected science journal Nature reported in November 2010, “Telomerase Reverses Ageing Process.” Most importantly, we now know that particular nutrients and antioxidants can substantially boost telomerase, that ‘Fountain of Youth’ enzyme, so now we can help build longer, younger telomeres.


In a recent large human study, presented in March 2013 at a meeting of the prestigious American College of Cardiology, the researchers were able to predict longevity based on telomere length — the longer the patient’s telomeres, the greater the chance of having a healthy lifespan.

The lead researcher on this study of 3,500 people said that when your chromosomes get too short, they no longer function properly, and the risk for age-related health issues increases dramatically. He also said, “our research shows that patients with longer telomeres live longer. Longer telomere length directly correlates with the likelihood for a longer life.”

In fact, the Wall Street Journal summed up telomere research best back in March 2010 with this headline, “Making Cells Live Forever in Quest for Cures.”

And based on an April 2012 study, from the University of California at San Francisco, this time looking at shorter telomeres, again the Wall Street Journal reported, “shorter telomere length…equated to an estimated four and a half years of accelerated aging.” Shorter telomeres equals faster aging.


You’ll be hearing more and more about telomeres and telomerase as we enter the exciting new era of nutrition nutritional supplementation called “Nutrigenomics.*”

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*Nutrigenomics is a branch of nutritional genomics and is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene  expression.  This means that nutrigenomics is research focusing on identifying and understanding molecular-level interaction  between nutrients  and other dietary bioactives with the genome.