Given last year’s Nobel prize awards, you may well be aware of the fundamental link between health and telomeres. Telomeres are the ultimate healing resource, and your longevity has more to do with your active approach to this subject than anything else. Most of us understand the oxidation process by now, and how increasing our intake of antioxidants can slow down the aging process. However, unless you have a background in genetics, telomere aging can be difficult to understand, so we present you with a simple explanation of what telomeres are, their role in cancerous activity, and how to easily add years to your life by preventing telomere shortening.
Telomeres are a region of your DNA; they are found at the end of DNA strands, giving a form of protection to your DNA. For life to continue, your cells have to divide. But each time your cells divide, your telomeres shorten. When your telomeres shorten down enough, cell division ceases to occur and life ends. Thus telomere length is closely related to your life expectancy.
What about the link between telomeres and cancer? Well, telomere shortening doesn’t always result in a specific cell dying; some cells may instead activate the enzyme ‘telomerase’ thereby becoming a cancer cell and preventing its’ telomeres from becoming shorter. The cell continues to reproduce, but in a cancerous way. Clearly the prevention of telomere shortening should be at the top of the agenda of any health conscious individual, and remaining aware of telomeres and telomerase is a fundamental health priority.
It should be noted that this subject is separate from other factors that advance our aging. For example, most of us are conscious of including a good amount of antioxidants in our diets, and while that has a lot of benefits it has no effect on the rate at which our telomeres shorten. The best way to tackle the telomere problem is to consume Omega-3; aim for about 4,000-5,000mgs per day. You’ll get a lot of Omega-3 from food sources like oily fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon, and trout, and from nuts such as almonds and brazil nuts. We recommend that you supplement your intake with products such as cod liver oil (if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you should be able to find an alternative online without much difficulty), as it’s unlikely that you’ll get enough from food alone.
Telomeres are a complex and important subject, yet on the grounds of the available evidence, the above is all you need to know from a practical standpoint. Omega-3 is far more important than you realised, and even when other avenues in telomere shortening prevention are uncovered it will still be critical to make sure you take plenty.