This pretty picture depicts chromosomes. Chromosomes are structures of your DNA, your encoded genetic instruction – what makes you, you – your genetic makeup. The red tips on the ends of the chromosomes are Telomeres,? often compared to the plastic caps on the end of shoe laces, which stop the laces from fraying. Recent developments in genetic science has revealed fascinating information about telomeres.
Put simply, telomeres protect your DNA but as we age the length of the telomeres gets shorter and eventually they can become so stubby that the cell dies.
A number of factors have been shown to speed up the shortening of telomeres and certain lifestyle factors can also help prevent them wearing down. This is such massively important information, as protecting your telomeres can have a really significant impact on the way and speed you age and the development, or not,? of disease.
If your telomeres are becoming short and stubby, this will impair the ability of your cells to divide properly resulting in the DNA in a cell being unable to properly replicate. The cell will then either die, or potentially worse, continue to stay alive but function poorly. Poorly functioning cells will result in? a healthy body becoming out of balance, inflammed, unable to heal and far more prone to diseases including cardiovascular disease (e.g., stroke, heart attacks), cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, depression, and inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Conversely, longer telomeres are linked to healthy ageing and overall longevity.
One of the really key factors that appears to significantly? increase the speed at which your telomeres shorten is CHRONIC STRESS. I have believed for a very long time being stressed, especially on-going,? chronic stress is a massive trigger to an internal environment that sets the body up to be super-vulnerable to disease. Now there is very strong evidence as to why this is the case. Studies also suggest that lack of exercise and a poor, high sugar diet are also factors.
To protect your precious telomeres, you need to move regularly and eat well? – now there’s a surprise!
Specific nutrients shown to offer some protection to telomere length are:? ? Magnesium ? Vitamin B-12 ? ? Vitamin D3 ? ? Omega-3?? ? Zinc?? ? Vitamin C? ? Folate (folic acid) ? Vitamin E? ? the potent antioxidant Astaxanthin (high in Krill Oil)? ? Co Enzyme Q10 (if you’re on statins, you def. need to be supplementing with this as the statins inhibit producition of your own CoQ10) ?? and the ever fabulous probiotics? – live gut bacteria ( and fermented foods like sauerkraut).
Nothing new and nothing complicated in what it takes to look after your DNA, but a hugely important development in our understanding of why stress is so harmful and ageing and why eating well and getting regular exercise is essential to maintaining good health at the most fundamental level.