If you’ve been looking into what factors impact aging, you likely have come across the word ‘Telomeres.’ The concept of aging has a variety of determinants to our aging trajectory. Many of these factors go back to one structural component within our cells, Telomeres. Keep reading as we answer one of the most popular questions on the topic of aging: ‘what are telomeres?’
What are telomeres?
Telomeres are a structural component of our DNA that play an incredibly important role in our cellular structure. Their job? Protect and maintain our DNA’s genetic structure.
Where are telomeres located?
Telomeres are located within each of the trillions of cells within our body. Within the nucleus of each cell in our body is where our Genetic information remains tightly wound in what is called chromosomes. At the end of each chromosome is a protein structure called Telomeres that acts essentially as a buffer for our chromosomes.
You can think of Telomeres like the protective rubber end caps to a capsule that maintains very important information, in this case our genetic structure. Without telomeres, our chromosomes would be left less protected which leaves more risk for genetic damage or mutation.
What is the function of a telomere?
One function of the telomere, or chromosomal end cap, is to identify where one chromosome ends and another begins. This function is important as it prevents chromosomes from unwanted and accidental fusion.
Another function of the telomere is for protection of our DNA during the cell replication process. One of the imperfections of the cell replication process is the inability to replicate the entirety of our chromosome’s length. Telomeres are in place to take the hit for that damage, as to avoid damaging the chromosome itself and its genetic information. Every time a cell divides, a piece of the telomere is lost. While intended for protection, you may wonder what happens as these telomeres get shorter and shorter as we age.
Top reasons telomeres are important
Ultimately, telomeres are the protection for our chromosomes which contain our genetic structure. When telomeres get shorter, our chromosomes will be more vulnerable to genetic damage or mutations that can happen during the replication process.
Why do telomeres shorten as we age?
As much as we’d like to slow the aging process, slowing or stopping cell replication is not something we can control. And since telomeres shorten with every cell division, they get shorter as we age. Even as we produce new cells, the telomeres on those cells are just shorter than when we were younger.
Outside of the cell division process, there are other factors that research has linked to accelerated telomere shortening. Telomere shortening is also linked to things like stress, lack of sleep, obesity, and other lifestyle factors that can increase stress hormones within the body.
Telomeres and Aging
So we’ve covered what happens at a cellular structure level when telomeres shorten as we age, but what does that mean in the aging process? Research shows that telomere shortening can be linked to increased risk factors for chronic disease and potentially shorter lifespan due to this effect. While the impacts can vary by person, Telomere lengths affect our overall health, well-being, and lifespan.
Telomeres and Cancer
Just like non-cancerous cells, cancer cells continue to divide and replicate. As cancerous cells divide, the telomeres also become shorter which can lead to cell death. As a cancer cell tries to save itself from death, it will start to produce an enzyme called Telomerase. Telomerase enzyme is responsible for telomere preservation and maintenance. This enzyme isn’t one that is produced in abundance in the body, outside of cancer cells. If we had telomerase present all the time, we may not be writing about telomere shortening. For this reason, a lot of research exists to study how measuring telomerase may help detect cancer and how telomerase is involved in the maintenance of telomeres.
How is telomere length maintained?
Some of our telomere characteristics can be due to factors out of our control, like our genetics. In addition, we can’t stop the division of cells within our body, nor would we want to. For things we can try to control, there are some ways in which we can try to preserve the life of our telomeres.
Research has shown that there may be behavioral factors within our control to maintain telomere length. Stress and unhealthy behaviors like poor diet, sleep deprivation, smoking, and lack of physical activity have been linked to accelerating telomere shortening. So, we can promote maintaining telomere length by living a healthy lifestyle and reducing stress. Things like exercise and eating healthy can help reduce the amount of stress in our body, in turn contributing to the maintenance of the length of our telomeres. By maintaining the length of our telomeres, we can reduce our risk for early onset of disease and live a longer, healthier life.
How can I improve my telomere length?
Outside of the healthy life you are leading, you may be wondering what else you can do to improve your telomere length? Supplements are a great way to enhance all the efforts you are already taking to minimize the effects of aging. Telomere supplements are a great addition to your healthy aging regimen as there are just things that are out of our control. It’s not a stretch to say that every human deals with stress or lack of sleep at some point in their life.
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When you are seeking to live a healthy and fulfilled life, you may be wondering how you can minimize the effects of aging. Since Telomere length is correlated with our aging trajectory, finding ways to sustain telomere length is key and Longevity by Nature has your solution. When our telomeres lose their length, we become more at risk for disease and effects of aging. To avoid this, we can implement things in our routine like exercise, healthy eating, good sleep, and taking Telos 95 supplements. Telos95 is clinically proven as an anti-aging telomere lengthening supplement. Adding this supplement to your daily routine can enhance all of the things you are doing to lead a healthy life and promote Telomere length.
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