THE TELOMERE EFFECT - JULY 2017 - VOLUME 9, ISSUE 4

 

Ramilas Health Tips

Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic

 

I hope you're enjoying a fun and relaxing summer! This is a great time of year to take a break, and generally take things a little easier and reduce our stress levels. I'd like to give you an idea of how important this, and other healthy behaviours are for slowing down the rate at which we age. Read on below...

 
These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.

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Volume 9, Issue 4

Ramila Padiachy

Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM)®

Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic

1437 Woodroffe Avenue
Ottawa ON (map)

613.829.0427
info@ramilas.com

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What's a Telomere?

You may have heard or read about telomeres. Briefly, each chromosome (containing DNA) has a sort of cap on each end - these caps are telomeres. As cells repeatedly divide over a person's lifetime, as a general rule, the telomeres become shorter. The length of our telomeres can tell us a lot about how well we're aging.

 

In January 2017, Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel published a book, The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer. This book makes Nobel Prize winning research conducted by Elizabeth Blackburn and others available beyond academia, to a more general audience.

 

The Telomere Effect

Our lifestyle choices affect our telomeres and how we age. And it's possible to measure telomere length to get some indication of how we're doing.

 

As I mentioned, the chromosomes in each of our cells contain our DNA. At the ends of each chromosome are telomeres, which have been described as being like the caps on the ends of shoelaces, that keep the shoelaces/chromosomes from unravelling.

 

Each time a cell divides, the telomeres become a little bit shorter, until they become too short to protect the chromosome. At this point the cell has aged, and cannot properly do its job any more. Having too many of these senescent cells accelerates aging. This doesn't cause any specific disease, but it is believed you'll be more likely to develop any disease you might be prone to.

 

How can we affect the rate at which we age? Blackburn was part of a team that won the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 2009 for discovering the role of an enzyme - telomerase - that can help lengthen your telomeres. Blackburn and Epel make the case that telomeres are just one pathway of aging, and that certain aspects of your lifestyle may stabilize or even increase telomere length and help slow down or prevent aging.

 

peacefulnessFactors that help protect your telomeres include:

  • a healthy diet - The Mediterranean diet is associated with longer telomeres. Adequate nutrition including antioxidants, in general, and specifically vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are also important.
  • being physically active - A small study found 45 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week for six months increased telomerase activity twofold.
  • adequate, good quality sleep - A 2012 study found that sleeping fewer hours was associated with shorter telomere length in healthy men.
  • avoiding (or managing) chronic stress
  • meditation
  • mental well-being
  • social support
  • level of trust and safety in your neighbourhood

Conversely, factors that promote cellular aging and shortening of telomeres include:

  • stress hormones
  • oxidative stress
  • inflammatory stress

Note that no long term studies have been done, so we don't know what effect maintaining telomere length has on longevity. At this point we are looking at associations, not cause and effect. However, a longer 'health span' (and reduced 'disease span') is likely to be the outcome of maintaining longer telomeres.

 

Too much as bad as too little? Too little telomerase resulting in shorter telomeres can increase the risk of cancer because mutations can occur when the cells don't replicate properly. However, too much telomerase can help confer immortality onto cancer cells and increase the likelihood of cancer. Telomerase has been found to be 10 to 20 times more active in cancer cells than in normal body cells. It is believed that if this telomerase activity could be turned off, then telomeres in cancer cells would shorten (as they do in normal cells) and this would prevent the cancer cells from dividing uncontrollably in their early stages of development, or prevent relapse after the removal of a more advanced tumour. This could be a promising avenue for better cancer treatment. It is also clear that healthy lifestyle choices are better than taking telomerase as a medication - we wouldn't know if we were increasing the length of the telomeres of good cells or cancer cells.

 

Haven't I already heard these recommendations for improving my health? Yes, absolutely. However, now there is a way to document how well we're doing, by measuring the length of our telomeres. Telomere length can change in both directions - you may have longer telomeres one year, and shorter ones the next year - so Dr. Blackburn does not actually recommend getting your telomeres tested, but it's possible.

 

According to S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, of the University of Illinois, Chicago, "The only equivalent of a fountain of youth that exists is exercise and diet and avoiding harmful behaviour and risk factors like smoking and obesity. If you are doing this, you are doing as much as you can to allow your genetic potential to play out."

 

Supplements

There are some Nature's Sunshine supplements that are relevant to this newsletter.

 

You can find information about these products and purchase them in our online store:

 

Super Omega 3
Super Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamin D3
Vitamin E with Selenium
Vitamin C 1000 mg
Vitamin B Complex
Zambroza
 

 

For additional information, email info@ramilas.com or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Visit our website where you can see back issues of this newsletter, information about services and our clinic, and order products.

 

References:

 

  1. Blackburn E, Epel E. The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer. New York: Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group, 2017.
  2. Clopton J. What tiny telomeres may tell us about aging. WebMD Health News, April 19, 2017. webmd.com/special-reports/anti-aging-science/20170419/telomere-aging-link Accessed May 30, 2017.
  3. Rehman J. Aging: too much telomerase can be as bad as too little. July 5, 2014 blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/aging-too-much-telomerase-can-be-as-bad-as-too-little/ Accessed May 30, 2017.
  4. Greider CW, Blackburn EH. Telomeres, telomerase and Cancer [Reprint]. October 5, 2009 scientificamerican.com/article/telomeres-telomerase-and/ Accessed May 30, 2017.
  5. Facts about telomeres and telomerase. utsouthwestern.edu/labs/shay-wright/research/facts-about-telomeres-telomerase.html Accessed May 30, 2017.
  6. Corbyn Z. Elizabeth Blackburn on the telomere effect: 'It's abut keeping healthier for longer.' January 29, 2017 theguardian.com/science/2017/jan/29/telomere-effect-elizabeth-blackburn-nobel-prize-medicine-chromosomes Accessed May 30, 2017.

 

Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

 

When health begins, dis-ease ends.

“I had my first visit to a holistic clinic for a very bad sinus infection and I am so pleased I went to see Ramila. After 2 weeks of congestion, followed by 3 days of complete blockage and body aches, I was 90% better in 48 hours. My respiratory health was fully restored in just 4 days, with no recurrence of symptoms. I am amazed with the results and although I maintain my health through proper nutrition and exercise, it's comforting to know I can count on Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic for natural treatments. Thank you.”

— Valarie L