Scientific studies, dating back 40 years, point to the vital role of telomeres in the aging process.
Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of our DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.
Telomeres get shorter each time a cell copies itself, which is a continuous process.
Eventually, telomeres get too short to do their job, causing our cells to age and stop functioning properly.
What can any of us do to slow or even reverse the continual shortening of our telomeres as time marches on?
If you’re very rich, you might consider telomerase gene therapy with BioViva, a biotech company dedicated to reversing aging.
While gene therapy likely will become more viable and affordable in the years to come, here are some changes most of us are capable of making today.
- Eat more fiber. The more fiber we consume (oatmeal, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, berries, almonds, etc.), the longer our telomeres tend to be. A 2018 study discovered a linear relationship between fiber consumption and telomere length.
- Don’t skip the cardio, especially higher-intensity workouts. A 2017 study found that adults taking 30 minutes of exercise five days a week had telomeres that were nine years “younger” than those who are sedentary.
- Get more omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that increasing the amount of omega-3s in our diet (e.g., fish oil) is associated with lengthened telomeres and a reduction in cellular aging.
- Ensure adequate Vitamin D levels. Recent studies suggest that micronutrients, such as vitamin D, are involved in telomere biology and cellular aging. Vitamin D is important for a range of vital cellular processes including cellular differentiation and proliferation.
- Manage stress through yoga or meditation. A 2020 study found mindfulness and meditation techniques were linked to longevity and longer telomere length, a biomarker of human aging.
While research into the aging process accelerates, consider one or more of the practical steps listed above to prevent premature shortening of your telomeres.