06 Nov Telomeres and Cellular Aging
How do we age? Are we aging fast or slow? In order to answer this question, we need to compare our chronological age versus the biological one. The Chronological age is easily determined. It’s the age. Without a doubt, everyone wants to be younger biologically than chronologically. If you are younger than your chronological age, this is something you want to maintain. With the development of research in the field of genomics, we began to learn about telomeres and how the determination of our biological age depends on them.
What are telomeres?
Telomeres are DNA structures that function as protective coatings at the end of chromosomes. Telomeres are at the ends of our chromosomes and through them we can find out our biological age. The longer they are, the shorter the biological age. On the contrary, short telomeres equate to faster aging. Telomeres play a central role in cell aging by regulating the cellular response to stress and growth stimulation based on previous cell divisions and DNA damage. Age is a potent risk factor for some of the most common human diseases, including cancer. The enzyme, that is responsible for maintaining chromosome length, is called telomerase.
The length of the telomeres
Interestingly, the length of the telomeres is not constant. Telomere length varies between organisms, organs, cell types and even between chromosomes. Telomeres shrink rapidly after the onset of a disease. Many chronic diseases characterized by inflammation, which implies increased production of inflammatory cytokines and increased cell proliferation can lead to more and more unstable chromosomes, creating cells prone to premature aging.
The modern Medical reality
At the heart of anti-aging and rejuvenation is modern medicine. Restoring body function and maintaining telomere length provide a better quality of life. There are many factors that affect the length of telomeres. These include hormone balance, low levels of inflammation, proper exercise, sleep, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. The key to maintaining telomere length is balance.
The Scientific Opinion
Geneticist Richard Cawthon and colleagues at the University of Utah have found that shorter telomeres are associated with a shorter lifespan. Among people over the age of 60, people with shorter telomeres were three times more likely to die of heart disease and eight times more likely to die of infectious diseases.
While telomere shrinkage has been linked to the aging process, it is not yet known whether shorter telomeres are just a sign of aging or actually contribute to aging.
Human life has increased significantly since 1600, when the average life expectancy was 30 years. By 2012, the average US life expectancy was almost 79 years.
Some scientists predict that life expectancy will continue to rise, although many doubt that the average will always be much higher than 90.
Research in recent years has also shown that life expectancy can reach 150 years, and even more advanced and recent research has shown that there is no longer a life expectancy.
Cawthon says that if all aging processes could be eliminated and oxidative stress damage repaired, “one estimate is that humans could live 1,000 years!”
Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.
Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).
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