How Not to Act Your Age

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Every year the members of the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group put together a list of “super-centenarians” – people verified to be 110 years old or older.

It surprised me to see that nine of the world’s 15 oldest people live in America.1

But what struck me the most is that almost all of the super-centenarians are women.

It got me to wondering what they might have in common? What secrets do they have that can help you live younger for as long as possible?

In looking at the list for clues, there’s really no way to know who lives what lifestyle. But when we do research on what helps people stay young, we find that women generally live from 5 to 10 years longer than men.

That’s not entirely due to women having inherently “good genes.” They do, but not in the way you might think…

You see women have longer telomeres. It’s not that women are born with longer telomeres. Men’s telomeres shorten faster, while women’s telomeres stay longer.

Part of the reason is that women have much less oxidative stress than men. If you’re a woman you produce fewer free radicals that cause inflammation, and more antioxidants that stop inflammation.

And as it turns out, telomeres are VERY sensitive to oxidative stress. Studies show that oxidative damage in your cells is four times higher in men than in women.2

What we can take away from this is that you can live younger right now by reducing oxidative stress to your body, which will keep your telomeres longer and your cells acting younger.

One of the best ways I know, I learned through extensive research into telomeres and maintaining telomere length. My studies brought me to the ancient herb Milk Thistle, a member of the Compositae or daisy family. Turns out, the ancients were right to trust milk thistle…

This ancient, well-known herb is popular for detoxification, and studies show it boosts the immune system and protects the brain. More importantly, it was recently discovered to maintain telomere length.3

That makes sense, since its active component, silymarin, is a unique type of bioflavonoid. It’s a very strong antioxidant that stops free radical damage… keeping telomeres longer and healthier.

Milk thistle, also known as the plant Silybum marianum, is one of the best for clearing toxins from your blood and GI tract and helps restore liver function. Many ailments are related to toxin build-up. These toxins amass over time. This further ages your body.

I have been able to document its capacity to heal damaged livers by measuring serum liver enzymes. I recommend 200 mg in capsule form twice a day.

There are no regular food sources for this herb. Look for dried extract with a minimum of 80% silymarin, the active ingredient for liver cleansing, and as we now know, maintaining your telomere length.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
Al Sears, MD


1. “Current Validated Living Supercentenarians.” Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group. grg.org. May 6, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014.

2. Finkel T, Holbrook NJ. “Oxidants, oxidative stress and the biology of aging.” Nature 2000;408:239–47.

3. Parzonko A, Naruszewicz M. “Silymarin inhibits endothelial progenitor cells’ senescence and protects against the antiproliferative activity of rapamycin: preliminary study.” J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2010;56(6):610-8.

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