Telomere Assessment

How fast are you aging? We now have a window to not just a person's chronological age but how does one's chronological age compare to how their cells are aging biologically. It is called Telomere Analysis and it is a fascinating, new tool for medical science. Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that serves as a "cap" to your genetic material. Every time one of your body's cells replicates, the telomere will become shorter and shorter telomeres imply a shorter life span for the cell. Shorter telomere length implicates advanced biological aging. Evaluation of this telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one is aging relative to the normal population. When measured, your telomere length is compared to a sample of the American populaton in your same age range. The higher the telomere score, the "younger" the cells. It is postulated that therapies or treatments that have the ability to slow the loss of telomere length may actually have the ability to slow the aging process and diseases that are generally associated with aging. Short telomere length have been associated with metabolic abnormalities, obesity, cancer, dementia and heart disease.

Diet plays a role in telomere length. Diets that may be responsible for shortening telomere length include:

  • refined carbohydrates
  • fast foods
  • processed foods
  • sodas
  • artificial sweeteners
  • both trans and saturated fats

Diets that will maintain telomere length and reduce or prevent telomere shortening include:

  • 10 servings of fresh and uncooked fruits and vegetables
  • mixed fiber
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • cold water fish
  • high quality vegetable proteins
  • fasting nightly may also be beneficial

Other factors that will have a positive effect on telomere length include:

  • achieving ideal body weight and body composition with low body fat(less than 22% for women and less than 16% for men)
  • regular aerobic and resistance exercise of at least one hour per day
  • obtaining 8 hours sleep nightly
  • keeping stress levels to a minimum
  • cessation of all tobacco products

The telomere analysis is a simple, non-painful test to perform and just requires a blood sample that can be obtained in the office or at an outside laboratory. Soon you will be on your way to increasing your longevity and a healthier life!