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General Health

Aging: Unlocking the Secrets of Telomeres

While some people can look at a person and guess his or her age – like the carnival barker who claims he can as long as you cough up a few bucks – there are numerous factors that go into determining how young or old somebody looks, and researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and others are heading some of the most groundbreaking studies.

Researchers there are looking to telomeres - the caps on the ends of chromosomes that protect DNA from damage - to determine how well a person is aging while looking for ways to slow or even reverse the aging process and protect against cellular degeneration caused by the shortening of telomeres which eventually breaks the links between cells.

Telomeres are tasked with protecting DNA from damage as cells divide and DNA replicates. When we’re young, our telomeres are longer and more durable. Over time, however, the telomeres become shorter, and while the shortening is a natural sign of cellular aging, when the telomeres become too short, chromosomes fray and cells can no longer divide.

Cell division is a necessary part of the production of new skin, blood and bone, so if cells can’t divide, skin cells can’t turn over as quickly, and it shows up as signs of aging. (Ref. 1)

But shorter telomeres and the slower cell turnover that result do not only show themselves through the aging process.

According to studies, the shorter the telomeres a person has, the higher the risk of conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and premature death.

While some telomere activity is genetic, about half is linked to environmental and lifestyle factors, suggesting that there are things we can do to prevent the damage to telomeres – and the impact that damage has on our overall health.

Slowing the process

While Dolly, the sheep cloned in 1999, started her life with shorter telomeres, which served as a predictor for her shortened lifespan, for the rest of us, there are processes in place that help protect telomeres to prevent chromosomal damage.

An enzyme named telomerase is tasked with helping to expand the bases of telomeres, preventing them from wearing too much and preserving chromosomes. When we’re young, we have enough telomerase available to build up the telomeres. But as cells continue to divide, there is not enough of the enzyme to protect the telomeres from growing shorter, and the cellular aging process continues. (Ref. 2)

Telomeres, essentially, are like a built-in biological clock that triggers aging. But changes in lifestyle can make a big difference to the process.

Why wellness matters

 

Experts believe that smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet could be linked to the shortening of telomeres, but a 2013 study that appeared in the Lancet Oncology found that lifestyle interventions including diet, exercise and stress management could slow down the process of telomeres growing shorter, which essentially begins very early in life.

Conducted by scientists at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and the Preventative Medicine Research Institute, the study focused on 35 men with prostate cancer, 10 of whom were asked to make lifestyle changes including eating a plant-based diet, walking for 30 minutes per day, five days a week and adding stress-reduction activities including yoga to the mix. (Ref. 3)

The telomere length of those who made lifestyle changes increased by 10 percent over the five-year period, while the length decreased by three percent for those who made no changes.

“Our genes, and our telomeres, are not necessarily our fate,” said lead author Dean Ornish, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at UCSF and founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute.

The study, authors say, was a breakthrough in the study of lifespan and chronic diseases, and offers another piece of a complex puzzle regarding aging, health and disease.

“Telomere shortening increases the risk of a wide variety of chronic diseases,” said co-author Dr. Peter R. Carroll, professor and chair of the UCSF department of urology. “We believe that increases in telomere length may help to prevent these conditions and perhaps even lengthen lifespan.”

And while Peter Pan stayed young forever in Neverland – and Dorian Gray gave eternal youth a shot – could telomeres be our own fountain of youth?

Maybe...

Researchers are beginning to look at ways to boost the enzyme telomerase as a way to protect the telomere end caps and maintain better cellular health.

A 2010 mouse study that appeared in the journal ‘Nature’ found that when they blocked the production of telomerase in mice, they quickly began to show their age, although they were able to bounce back just as quickly when the enzyme was reintroduced. (Ref. 4)

“What really caught us by surprise was the dramatic reversal of the effects, a near 'Ponce de Leon' effect, we saw in these animals," said Ronald DePinho, a cancer geneticist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, who headed the study. “This has implications for thinking about telomerase as a serious anti-aging intervention.”

Some Comments from our Founder Warren Matthews

“This is a subject that I have a personal interest in and have been investigating it for the last couple of years. I have been doing some tests on myself and experimenting with different protocols. There is evidence that some nutrients can slow down the shortening of Telomeres. Some of these nutrients are quite sophisticated whereas others such as Omega 3 fish oil are readily available.

There is some scientific evidence that many of the ingredients that we already use in Total Balance  can provide support for the health of your telomeres. We have been doing some research into possibly developing a new product to focus on telomeres as an adjunct to our Total Balance. No decision has been made at this point as to whether we will proceed. If such a product would be of interest to you perhaps you could let us know by sending an email to our customer relations team with the subject 'Telomeres'. We will then keep you in the 'loop' if we proceed with such a development. Thank you.”

 

References:

  1. http://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/preventive-care/article/aging-what-telomeres-can-tell
  2. http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/chromosomes/telomeres/
  3. http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/09/108886/lifestyle-changes-may-lengthen-telomeres-measure-cell-aging
  4. http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101128/full/news.2010.635.html

14 Comments

  • “Hi Chidinma, Thank you for your comment. We are sorry to hear that you have stopped taking Total Balance because of the number of tablets. The reason for the number of tablets is due to the extensive range of different ingredients in our formulations. For us to reduce the number of tablets would mean cutting down on some of these anti-aging ingredients which would produce a less superior product – something we do not want to do. However, if you would prefer to take 2 tablets a day, we do have our Multi-Xtra multivitamin supplement, which contains some of the ingredients in our Total Balance range. While it doesn’t have the anti-aging ingredients or hormone support blend which makes Total Balance a complete nutrient system, it is still a very comprehensive multivitamin and one that we believe is superior to majority on the market today. Please feel free to contact us at customer.service@xtend-life.com if you have any questions on this product or if you would like further advice. In good health, Madelynn”

    Xtend-Life Expert December 18 2015

  • “Hello Horst, It is great to hear that you have been a faithful user of our products for some time and it is fantastic that you feel benefits from taking Total Balance. Telomere research is a constantly developing field and a number of companies are now offering specialized DNA testing to measure telomere length as a marker of aging. A quick Google search will provide a number of suggestions of the availability of this in your region. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle, along with your supplement regime will certainly be offering valuable benefits to your overall health, as well as helping to lessen the effects of aging. I encourage you to continue Horst, and I am sure others you have shared your experience with are grateful for your insight.”

    Customer Relations April 21 2017

  • “Any updates on the telomere product devolpment? I read Warren tried a telomere product and wondering how he got on! ”

    Alex October 22 2015

  • “Hi Mohamed, With regard to NADH we did a lot of work on this a few years ago and I personally tried it for some months. Was not totally convinced that it was worth it at that time. But, we are open to reviewing it further. We were using the genuine European product.   If you have any information that you feel may be of interest to us could you possibly forward it to Michelle who runs our New Product Development team.  Her address is michelle@xtend-life.com   Thank you. ”

    Warren Matthews October 28 2015

  • “I am interested on the development of the telomere and would purchase the product for sure. I have taken Total Balance for years now but not the full dose but it still helps so I feel,. as I am a vegetarian for live and very healthy for my age a part from a few little bits and pieces I can not complain. Changed over the last month a little bit to more special products I thought I need but will go back to it . Is there a test available to check if the telomere level in the body is low or sufficient please let me know if you could. Otherwise I am happy with your products and have them recommended to many of my friend. regards Horst”

    Horst Kubsch April 14 2017

  • “I certainly look forward to the telomere product devolpment and the new Total balance and wonder if NADH and NAD would be considered with the new TB? Sinclair is curently researching it too. ”

    Mohamed October 27 2015

  • “I too heard about this telomere some years ago. From my observations, I find a person’s attitude towards circumstances is also an important factor in slowing the ageing process. A calm person who doesn’t get agitated "come what may" usually age slower than others. People who sleep well and adequately also seems to age slower than others. Anyways, hope you are able to find a solution to this "problem".”

    Jeffrey Yeo December 24 2015

  • “Hi Alex, Stephen and Jenny, Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and for your comments. I apologize for our delayed response. As the telomere project is one that Warren is especially passionate about, we have passed your comments on for him to review and respond to directly. I am confident he will be posting a response on this blog soon.  If you have not yet signed up to our online newsletters, I advise you do so to ensure you get the latest up to date information on our products. Alternatively, you can contact our customer relations team at customer.service@xtend-life.com for further assistance and advice. In good health, Madelynn”

    Xtend-Life Expert October 26 2015

  • “Hi Alex, Stephen and Jenny. Yes, I tried a product called T65 for about almost 2 years. It was very expensive and I am not convinced that it gave any real benefit. I am still doing some research on this and I plan on visiting some further experts on telomeres in different parts of Europe early next year to establish if it is possible to really develop an effective supplement to assist with slowing down the shortening of them.     So far what we have found in our research is that there is a wide variety of nutrients that have been shown clinically to help but there is no individual ingredient that really sticks out.     I am coming to the opinion that using a range of these nutrients is the best option as the likelihood of finding help a single magic ingredient is highly unlikely. Many of the ingredients that have been shown to be  beneficial for telemores we are already using in Total Balance. In addition to these nutrients there is also increasing evidence that Omega 3 fish oils will help with telemores.  At the end of the day it may be that we just have to do some slight tweaking of our Total Balance formula. At the moment I think that the current Total Balance formula is probably the best one still available for telomere health. From a common sense point of view this would be logical as this formula has been designed and tweaked over the last 16 years with general health and anti-aging in mind which in turn must have some impact on slowing down the shortening of the telomeres. ”

    Warren Matthews October 27 2015

  • “Hello Jenny, Some of your comments are valid, some are not. You are correct that I have not been as directly involved in the blogs etc over the last few yearsand I am making a conscious effort to change that.   I wish you were correct and that we are making more money but we are not. It has been a tough few years whilst we have been updating all our procedures, restructuring our management systems and building a new state of the art facility. This has been extremely demanding on me and I have been forced to be involved in many business activities rather than maintaining my focus on being more available in communicating with our customers.   We have got bigger but we had to in order to cope with the myriad of regulatory requirements. This we have done and we are now one of the few manufacturers anywhere in the world who really take all these issues seriously.     All this work has largely been done and I am now focusing the business and my time to be much more involved in communications and making things better for our customers not only in providing service and information but in the development of new products.   I have to tell you that I do not like Corporates and I confess that we were heading that way and I didnt like it and as such I initiated changes in our structure to ensure that it remains a boutique customer oriented personal business.   All the best, Warren ”

    Warren Matthews October 28 2015

  • “Nobody answers this blog much anymore guys ! That’s what happens when companies start becoming bigger and make more money I used to read it when the owner was more involved a bit and replying.. Which made the company stand out. Now they are becoming more like most corporate companies sadly ”

    Jenny October 26 2015

  • “What is the email address for the customer relations team? I am interested.”

    Stephen October 24 2015

  • “I am a fan of Xtendlife & i value the products. However i stopped taking the total balance not because it is not beneficial but because there are too many tablets to take daily. Please is there a way to compound this into maximum of 2 tabs daily?. I will go back to it as soon as this is done. Please think about it.”

    Chidinma December 18 2015

  • “I’d really like to see this product be made available.”

    Adrin November 18 2015

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