Exciting new research has unlocked a significant key to longevity: Telomeres. The science is new and still developing. Studies continue and I shall add them as they are published. Not every body knowns about this yet but now you have access to the story of some theoretical science with very practical consequences.
1. Cell division and longevity. We have long known that when cells stop dividing the body begins to degrade (age). In the early 1960s a geneticist named, Leonard Hayflick discovered that our cells have only a limited number of times they can divide. - usually 60-100 times. (Scientists now call this cell division limit the Hayflick limit). When cells stop dividing the body begins to degrade (age ) and eventually dies.
Researchers who wanted to find out why cells had this limit to the number of times they could divide discovered that at the end of each
cell is a cap (called a telomere). Each time a cell divides this cap becomes shorter. After enough cell divisions, the telomere becomes too short to continue dividing. At that point the cell goes into senescence (sleep). It no longer divides or functions.
Scientists now had a 'cause' for the body degradation that
accompanied aging and led to death.
2. Next they discovered that this shortening is NOT true of all cells. Reproductive cells are exempt because when reproductive cells divide, a gene which makes an enzyme called telomorase adds nucleotoids to the ends of the cell chromosones and the length of telomeres increases! This extends the life of the cell.
3. Investigators learned that our non-reproductive cells had this same gene too. BUT the gene was 'turned off". It did not add any nucleotoids to the ends of the cells chromosones and so the length of in ordinary cells did not regrow. Instead these cells slowly stopped functioning.
4. In 1999 researchers in Spain created a line of mice that were deficient in telomerase and they found that these mice had shortened life spans.
5. In 2001 this same team of scientists bred some telomere deficient mice with mice that had normal ones. They found that the off spring, who had normal telomerase genes now had normal length telomereres. This 'proved' that normal telomeres could be reintroduced even after they had shortened.
6. In 2003 University of Utah researchers measured these in a group of person over age 60. They tracked this group and found over the next few years that those with the shortest died sooner than those with longer ones.
These were exciting studies for those interested in affecting longevity. Studies continued. Researchers at Sierra Sciences in Nevada (USA) discovered over 200 compounds that could 'turn on" telomerase. Some of these compounds are toxic but others continue to be studied.
Known ways to increase yours Researchers found that fish oil (not other forms of Omega 3) can lengthern telomeres. And there is some research showing that Vitamin D does too. (I hope to add pages about these studies as soon as I have read ALL the research - both positive and negative.
And there is one supplement, TA-65, which appears to work. To read about it click on
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