Short telomeres produce decrepit cells.
That’s been my contention for over a decade, since I was named the first U.S. doctor licensed to administer the first groundbreaking DNA therapy to activate and regulate telomeres.
My regular readers know telomeres are the protective end caps that prevent your DNA strands from unraveling like a badly frayed shoelace.
Ever since biologist Elizabeth Blackburn won the 2009 Nobel Prize for her discovery of the telomerase enzyme that repairs telomeres, the coastal elites who maintain a chokehold on U.S. medicine have engaged in a debate over how much telomeres really matter.
Now, a groundbreaking study could settle the issue once and for all.
Because once you learn how to nurture your telomeres — and I’m going to show you how to do that in just a moment — you can stave off the worst effects of aging.
Let me explain.
Hear the Sound of Ticking Telomeres?
Like a biological clock counting down, telomeres get shorter and shorter each time your cells replicate.
Once they get too short, look out! Cells start spewing out damaging proteins, triggering inflammation that further accelerates the telomere-aging process. It’s a vicious cycle, as shrunken telomeres spawn dysfunctional, “senescent” byproducts that cause even more inflammation.
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York wanted to know the precise mechanism by which telomeres exert their far-flung effect throughout your entire body.
So, they analyzed an astounding 17,382 tissue samples collected from 979 people ranging in age from 20 to 79.1
What they discovered may rewrite the textbooks on telomeres.
Telomere “Loops” Dive Deep Into Your DNA
After telomeres become dangerously short, cells’ protein production spins out of control. Researchers call this “aberrant upregulation.”
But how do telomeres affect the remote production of proteins, far from your chromosome ends where your telomeres are stationed?
The answer, researchers say, is that telomeres are connected to distant spots on the chromosome via loops of telomeric RNA. The loops are described as “lasso-like.”
Researchers say these loops give telomeres the ability to control even the protein expression of distant cells.
Once telomeres get too short, the loops disappear.2
That’s when inflammation takes off and the ravages of old age are right around the corner.
How to Age-Proof Vulnerable Telomeres
I first began studying telomeres well over a decade ago, and during that time telomere science made major strides.
Patients no longer have to sit passively and wait for the inevitable decline that comes with aging. I urge them to act now to protect their DNA. Here’s how:
- Cut down on carbs. I’m talking about deli meats, hotdogs, instant soups and noodles, chips, cookies, and virtually all fast foods. These foods are not found in nature, and they spawn inflammation-causing free radicals that target telomeres like guided missiles. A study at Spain’s University of Navarra found the higher your processed food intake, the shorter your telomeres.3
- Supplement with vitamin C. Without enough vitamin C, your body can’t produce collagen, carnitine, or the neuropeptides that regulate nerve function. Your risk of hypertension, heart disease, and stroke skyrockets. It’s also been shown to slow telomere shortening by up to 62%.4,5 But even if you already take vitamin C daily, only a fraction of it is absorbed. That’s why I tell my patients to take at least 2 grams a day in a liposomal form. Surrounding the vitamin C within a fatty-acid bubble enables it to survive the journey through your digestive tract to your cells.
- Boost your omega-3 intake. Omega-3 fatty acids cut inflammatory proteins by 33%.6 Not surprisingly, they’re also a powerful defense against telomere attrition. Food sources include wild-caught salmon, organ meats from grass-fed livestock, and hempseed. But it’s so important I also advise my patients to take at least 500 mg of DHA and 60 mg of EPA every day. Your telomeres will be glad you did!
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Dong, X., Sun, S., Zhang, L., Kim, S., Tu, Z., Montagna, C., … Vijg, J. (2021). Age‐related telomere attrition causes aberrant gene expression in sub‐telomeric regions. Aging Cell.
2. Dong, X., Sun, S., Zhang, L., Kim, S., Tu, Z., Montagna, C., … Vijg, J. (2021). Age‐related telomere attrition causes aberrant gene expression in sub‐telomeric regions. Aging Cell.
3. Alonso-Pedrero, L., Ojeda-Rodríguez, A., Martínez-González, M. A., Zalba, G., Bes-Rastrollo, M., & Marti, A. (2020). Ultra-processed food consumption and the risk of short telomeres in an elderly population of the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) Project. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 111(6), 1259–1266.
4. Shen J, et al. “Telomere length, oxidative damage, antioxidants and breast cancer risk.” Int J Cancer. 2009 Apr 1; 124(7):1637-43.
5. Furumoto K. et al. “Age-dependent telomere shortening is slowed down by enrichment of intracellular vitamin C via suppression of oxidative stress.” Life Science 1998, vol. 63, no. 11 pp. 935-48.
6. Ohio State University (2021, April 20). Omega-3 supplements do double duty in protecting against stress. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from ScienceBlog.com website.