There has been a lot of talk about telomeres and their effect on aging and health. You can even send your saliva to online companies and have your telomere length checked to determine what biological age your body is. So, what is a telomere? They are protein structures found at both ends of each chromosome which protect our genome from degradation. The longer the telomeric cap, the more youthful the cell. As a normal cellular process, a small portion of telomeric DNA is lost with each cell division. When telomere length reaches a critical limit, the cell begins to atrophy. Telomere length therefore serves as a biological clock in determining the lifespan of a cell and an organism. There are numerous studies being conducted on the causes of telomere damage; how it is incurred and what prevents it.
It is believed that aging and related diseases occurs when telomere caps begin to shorten The rate of aging is measured by the condition and length of our telomeres. It is also being studied whether this shortening may also be the cause of many health problems, including coronary heart disease diabetes and increased risk of cancer. As is usually the case, lifestyle and environment are explored to determine their impact on telomere length and its’ effects on health and aging.
IMPACT OF SMOKING
A study conducted in white blood cells of women smoking at least one pack per day concluded that on an average, women who smoked at this rate over a 40 year span lost 7.4 years of life. In summary, smoking increases oxidative stress, expedites telomere shortening and may increase the pace og the aging process. There seemed to be no difference between men or women when engaging in same amount of cigarette smoking.
Obesity is also associated with increased oxidative stress and DNA damage. Waist circumference and BMI seems to directly correlate to oxidative stress and cellular damage independent of age. This DNA damage appears to expedite telomere shortening, thus opening the door to aging and physical dysfunction. On average, both men and women shortened their lifespan by 8.8 years which is greater than from smoking.
Studies indicate that people who work in professions that expose them to chemical toxins had shorter telomeres as did traffic police officers who were exposed to higher amounts of carbon exhaust. These people seemed to have higher rates of lung cancer than people working office jobs or any job where they were not exposed to any type of toxic materials.
Stress and the glucocorticoid hormones it releases from the adrenal gland has been shown to cause oxidative damage to DNA and accelerate telomere shortening. Women under long term. highly stressful life situations incurred increased oxidative pressure and shorter telomeres than women not exposed to high stress situations. The difference in telomere length in these two groups was equivalent to 10 years of life. The affected group was much more at risk for the early onset of age-related health problems thus affecting health and longevity.
Some recent studies indicate that a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids is associated with reduced rate of telomere shortening, whereas a lack of these antioxidants correlates with increased rate of telomere attrition or shortening. Similarly, women who lacked these antioxidants in their diets over a 5 year period had shorter telomeres and a moderate risk for development of breast cancer. Women with diets high in vitamin E, C and beta-carotene appeared to have longer telomere length and less occurrences of breast cancer. Antioxidants can potentially protect telomeric DNA from oxidative damage caused by by extrinsic and intrinsic damaging agents.
Exercise can reduce harmful fat and help mobilize waste products for faster elimination, leading to reduced oxidative stress and increased protection of DNA and telomeres. It increases telomerase, the enzyme produced by the telomere and this enzyme reduces the rate of aging and age-related diseases.
Longer telomere length is critical to health and longevity. Smoking, pollution, a lack of physical activity, obesity, unhealthy eating and stress can cause oxidative damage to our DNA and incur age-related diseases. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, healthy protein and exercise can greatly contribute to longer telomere length and a longer and healthier life.
Since the beginning of time, people have been in pursuit of the elusive answer to eternal youth, health and beauty. They have searched far and wide in hopes of acquiring that magical elixir which will reverse or at least, slow down the hands of time! Well, search no more, I have the answer…it’s WATER!!! Hey it’s no coincidence that we have named it the Fountain of Youth! We have imagined that we would drink this mystical drink from the fountain and be forever young! So maybe it doesn’t work just like that but it is pretty close to the truth.
The benefits of water are countless, ranging from collagen production to purifying the blood, hydrating skin, hair, nails, gums bones etc… to diluting calories from food and alcohol and eliminating toxins from the body. It also helps maintain an even body temperature in extreme climatic conditions and improves brain function, focus and cognition. Water is also instrumental in maintaining endurance and stamina in that it helps the muscles fire up and react when needed.
Water is the Life Force that keeps our bodies performing at optimal condition and yes, opens the door to Eternal Youth! I have included a couple of web links below to great articles on the benefits of water. I hope you will enjoy it and benefit from it as well. Happy Summer, stay HYDRATED!
Fall is coming upon us and for those of us who live in agricultural regions, allergies are as well. We think of allergies as red swollen eyes, sniffles and coughs but they also manifest in skin conditions. Eczema and psoriasis are the two most common. Environmental conditions such defoliation, crop harvesting chemicals as well as temperature and weather changes can wreak havoc on our skin. Many of my clients complain about dry skin patches, flakiness, acne type breakouts, itchy and irritated skin, just to name a few. Contact dermatitis conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are usually more prevalent in the fall.
Oxygen facials are great treatments to relieve dry, flaky skin and calm down any swelling or redness. Cortisone creams are usually the best at home treatment. It reduces the swelling and irritation and will eliminate the symptoms within two to three days.
There’s not much one can do if living in these types of environmental regions but identifying the cause of the symptom can help in treating it. There are so many sites on the internet one can go to to learn about different skin allergy conditions and how to treat them. Do some research and help protect yourself from those nasty allergens. I’ve also included some tips below that you may find useful. If you’d like to comment or have any questions, I’d love to hear from you.
TIPS ON DEALING WITH SEASONAL ALLERGIES:
- Saline solutions for both nasal and eye areas are great in helping prevent sinus infections and minimizing runny, itchy eyes. Health food stores offer a variety of natural type products.
- Increase your Vitamin C intake by 1000-3000 mg a day while allergy season is at it’s worst. It builds up your immune system and allows your body to naturally fend off allergy attacks and bacterial infections. It’s a great way to help prevent or at least, shorten colds.
NOTE: It’s best to increase vitamin C intake in increments of 1000 mg. If your stools become loose, continue at that amount until they normalize and then increase by another 1000 mg and repeat the process until you have reached the desired dosage.
- My favorite preventative remedy is a 60 oz glass of warm salt water mixed with 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil added after warming the water. Gargle 3-4 times at the first sign of infection and continue until all symptoms are gone. Do not swallow solution as Tea Tree Oil is not meant to be ingested but if you should swallow a small amount, don’t worry, an occasional swallow won’t hurt you! It’s also great for sore, irritated gums and canker sores in the mouth. Mix Tea Tree Oil with toothpaste and brush normally. You will notice instant relief.
Try these out when your allergies start acting up and hopefully you will find some relief from pesky irritations and infections…maybe you will even be able to smell the roses!