Thursday, February 25, 2010

Telomeres : The Answer To Aging?

You may have seen recent articles, and or videos about telomeres.

Here is a video of Sierra Sciences CEO Bill Andrews, PhD, making a presentation about telomeres at the 2009 Longevity Summit.

He explains that telomeres are the very end of the DNA string in the chromosomes. DNA is a hundred million bases long. Telomeres are about 15,000 bases long when we are first conceived. As cells divide the telomeres get shorter. When we are born we have about 10,000 bases in our telomeres. When telomeres are around 5,000 bases we die of old age. (This is the theory.)

He starts off by saying that we can't do anything to stop telomeres from getting shorter as our cells divide. So there is a maximum limit of about 125 years to human life.

He also tells us that bad lifestyle choices, such as smoking, will make telomeres get shorter even faster. So this of course encourages us to live healthy lifestyles. So far so good.

However he assures us that there is no lifestyle changes that can keep telomeres long and healthy.

As he proceeds we find out that the telomeres in some cells do not get shorter. At first he says just reproductive cells have this property. But as the presentation goes on we find out that other cells also have this ability to live longer.

His job is to find drugs that will help cells keep long telomeres. He invisions finding drugs that will allow us to live much longer.

We next find out that no one really knows yet if keeping telomeres long will keep us from aging. Indeed there seems to be much more involved in aging than telomeres. In fact only humans, dogs, cats, and horses seem to have this telomere problem. No other animals age in this way.

Interestingly, cancer cells have this ability to keep long telomeres. If we take a drug to cause cells to be like cancer cells, is that a good thing?

It turns out that Bill Andrew's presentation is simply a plea for money to do more research, to make drugs to patent and sell.

A little more research on our part, and we find out that telomeres also stay healthy if we eat balanced amino acids from whole foods. This is a direct disagreement with Bill Andrew's statements. Even though, in his presentation he does make mention of groups of people who are known to live longer and have longer telomeres than those who don't live as long.

If you study these groups of people who live to be over 100 years old and still have very healthy active lifestyles, you find out that they don't take drugs, or even supplements, for the most part.

They do however eat lots of fresh veggies, fruits, and whole grains. They also get regular exercise (often strenuous), and have good social lives.

These kinds of presentations are good examples of how important it is to listen to what is being said, as well as what is not being said.

He said that eating well and exercising won't help, but all his years of research hasn't been about anything but drugs. He hasn't researched nutrition, or lifestyle.

This is a common mistake made by many many people. They assume that because people who eat processed foods and take drugs can't achieve optimum health, then it must be impossible to achieve optimum health unless we come up with some super drug that will solve all our problems.

He also encourages everyone to spend hundreds of dollars to have there telomere lengths analyzed. The only purpose I can see in that, since they don't really yet know what the real truth about telomeres and aging is, is to get you anxious to buy his drug that he will be making in the future, so you will put up money now to move the research along.

Unfortunately most of the articles out there, that talk about telomeres, are presentations designed to sell some supplement or drug like substance, or to give you false hopes to look forward to the miracle pill, that they will soon be making, to give you long life.

But a little common sense and level-headedness, along with an understanding of nature and natural foods made by our creator, helps us to know that by eating wholesome foods with complete proteins we are already way ahead of the game.

Specifically recommended foods that help with this include eggs, raw milk, and whole wheat.

So if you choose a healthy lifestyle and keep your telomeres long, can you live forever? Probably not. Remember that there is much more to aging than just telomeres.

But choosing a healthy lifestyle will help you to enjoy life much longer with fewer health concerns along the way.

Enjoy your day!
Coach G.

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