Health / Lab News

The secret to reversing aging – increase the length of your telomeres

The secret to reversing aging – increase the length of your telomeresA study published in The Lancet Oncology has indicated that positive lifestyle changes may reverse the aging process by increasing the length of telomeres.

So what are telomeres? Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes. They are found at the end of chromosomes that control the aging process and protect the end of these chromosomes from being damaged. In shorter or damaged telomeres, cells age and die more quickly, thus triggering the aging process.

Researchers have said that age can be predicted by the length of our telomeres. Higher risk of premature death and age-related diseases have been linked to shorter telomeres.

The study looked at two groups of men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer who had undergone no treatment. Group one were required to make positive lifestyle changes including improved diet, moderate exercise and adopting stress management techniques and greater social support. Group two were not asked to make any changes. The study took place over 5 years.

Results showed that in those who had made positive lifestyle changes, telomere length increased by 10%. The more positive changes the men made, the greater the increase in their telomere length. The men who did not make changes showed a decrease in telomere length of 3%.

Professor Dean Ornish of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute at the University of California said “The implications of this relatively small pilot study may go beyond men with prostate cancer. If validated by large scale randomized controlled trials, these comprehensive lifestyle changes may significantly reduce the risk of a wide variety of diseases and premature mortality. Our genes, and our telomeres, are a predisposition, but they are not necessarily our fate”.



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