Did you know you can slow down, and even reverse premature aging, at the cellular level? If you want to stay biologically younger for longer, and look and feel 10 to 20 years younger, read till the end. We’ll explore 7 lifestyle changes you can make to slow down cellular aging, by increasing the length of our telomeres. So what are telomeres?
Telomeres are sections of DNA placed at the end of the chromosome that carries genetic material. Telomeres protect our chromosomes, much like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. They help ensure the chromosome is properly copied during cellular reproduction, thus preventing DNA loss.
We all have a set amount of telomeres at birth, roughly 15,000 base pairs, but they inevitably get shorter as we age. Shorter lengths are related to health problems, and cell death in our bodies. When telomeres get too short, our cells can no longer reproduce – a state known as senescence. This causes our tissues to degenerate, and eventually die. Some cells, like those found in the skin, hair, and immune system, are most affected by telomere shortening because they replicate more often.
In our bodies, an enzyme called telomerase, maintains the length of the telomeres, by adding new genetic sequences. However, the amount of telomerase in our bodies declines as we age. By activating telomerase, it is possible to repair and reverse telomere shortening, help cells live longer, and make old cells young again.
Next up: the 7 ways you can boost telomerase activity, and produce more telomeres to slow down biological aging. Make sure you see our recommended anti-aging solution at the end.
Number 7. “Get Enough Sleep”.
Sleep is crucial for optimal health; it influences your cells’ growth and renewing capacity. Sleep deprivation can increase inflammation, and reduce immune response on the inside, and make you look older on the outside. Sleep-deprived individuals are more at risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, depression, and even cancer.
In one study of 482 people, researchers found that participants who slept for fewer than five hours per night had telomeres that were, on average, 356 base pairs shorter than those who slept for seven hours. In another study of 3000 post-menopausal women, researchers found that on average, women who slept less than seven hours a night had telomere length that was equivalent to women who were two years older.
Number 6. “Activating Autophagy”.
Autophagy means “self-eating”; it is the body’s “waste-removal” function that cleans out damaged cells, to regenerate newer, healthier cells. As we age, our body’s autophagic capacity declines. This leads to an accumulation of cellular waste, causing a loss in the function of tissues and organs.
Autophagy can extend your lifespan, and slow down the aging process. It can be triggered through intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets, which put the body into a “survival-repair” mode. These two diet regimens have been shown to increase telomere length.
Intermittent fasting is a concept based on time-restricted eating, primarily practiced as 16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating period with one or two big meals. The period of fasting is the time that autophagy increases.
Ketosis, a diet high in fat and low in carbs, brings the same benefits of fasting without fasting. Because of low glucose levels, it causes starvation-induced autophagy, which protects nerve cells against damage and dysfunction.
In general, simply eating less can help your telomeres stay nice and long. This slows the aging process and delays the onset of chronic diseases.
Autophagy also helps you look younger by repairing the skin that has been damaged due to stress, diet, toxins, and excessive sun exposure.
Number 5. “Exercise Regularly”.
Even just 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day, induces autophagy. Doing this prevents diseases, boosts cognitive function, enhances sleep quality, and improves skin texture through increased circulation.
In one study of 5823 adults, people who had high levels of physical activity showed a significantly longer telomere length compared to people who were sedentary or moderately active. Adults involved in high physical activity were determined to have 9 years less biological aging than their sedentary counterparts.
Number 4. “Manage Stress”.
Going for a brief walk, singing in the shower, dancing like crazy, driving through beautiful places, or just lying down, can reduce stress and benefit your telomeres more than you imagine. Chronic stress leads to an increase in cortisol, which causes a rise in blood sugar and blood pressure, reduces inflammation and immune system resistance to infection. However, cortisol has also been found to suppress telomerase activation in immune system cells, causing telomeres to become unprotected during cell division and become progressively shorter. This leads to early cell aging and increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, and cancer. Research on individuals who reduced stress through various forms of meditation showed increased telomerase activity and longer telomeres.
Number 3. “Healthy Diet and Weight”.
An anti-inflammatory diet is a telomere-protective diet, so eat a diet low in “bad fats”, sodium, and refined sugars. See our video on foods that cause inflammation and their healthy replacements.
Foods rich in antioxidants are important for protecting DNA from oxidative stress. These include dark chocolate, berries, leafy and cruciferous vegetables, and nuts and seeds. Also include healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, fatty fish, and grass-fed butter. In one study of 5,582 men and women, eating nuts and seeds was linked to longer telomeres, and decreased biological aging. Conversely, another study showed that high consumption of processed meats is associated with short telomere length, and increased biological aging.
It is important to maintain a healthy weight, as obesity is linked to high levels of oxidative stress. This condition causes DNA damage and increases the rate of telomere shortening.
For more foods that activate and extend longevity, see our video “Top 10 Anti-Aging Foods”.
Number 2. “Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol Use”.
When you smoke, your body is exposed to increased levels of oxidative stress which causes inflammation, and shortens telomeres by promoting senescence in immune cells; this has been well-established in studies.
Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption has been linked, to faster biological aging at a cellular level, as shown by different studies. Heavy drinking is often accompanied by a lack of vitamin B1, also known as thiamine. Vitamin B1 takes energy from food and turns it into energy for the brain, nerves, and heart. Long-term B1 deficiency leads to higher oxidative stress levels which affect telomere length. Another study showed that heavy alcohol use (eight or more drinks per week) increased facial lines, under-eye puffiness, and volume loss in the midface.
Number 1. “Supplements”.
Some nutrients have been shown to decrease the effect of aging in our system. Even though you can get them through foods, you may want to consume them as supplements to get sufficient amounts daily.
For example, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has potent antioxidant effects. Vitamins C and E may protect against oxidative DNA damage, that would otherwise cause telomere shortening.
Magnesium. A deficiency is known to be accompanied by an increase in oxidative stress, as this mineral plays a vital role in the enzyme activity involved in DNA replication, DNA repair, and RNA synthesis.
Zinc. Similarly, a deficiency is associated with oxidative damage, which leads to shorter telomeres. Optimal levels can reduce the incidence of infection, and prevent DNA erosion.
Other nutrients that boost telomerase activity are Omega-3 fatty acids, resveratrol, vitamin D3 and the herb, Astragalus.
To see our recommended anti-aging solution to super-charge telomerase activity, and improve telomere length, click the link below to watch a FREE video.
Before you take supplements with your medication, make sure to consult your doctor. Finally, monitor your cholesterol and sugar levels regularly to avoid the onset of diabetes or high cholesterol.
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