Telomeres Are The Talk Of The Town Even In Malaysia

Talk of telomeres has made it all the way around the world.

When I spoke at last year’s international anti-aging conference I was the one mentioning telomeres to everyone else. This past weekend when I got to the dinner the Anti-Aging Society of Malaysia hosts for all the attendees, people were coming up to me to talk telomeres.

I was a little bit thrown by how many people recognized me. And I’m still amazed that so many people from so far away want to read what I have to say. I never would have imagined it when I first started out…

It was gratifying that people wanted to speak to me about my life’s work and the research I’m doing on maintaining telomeres and increasing telomerase (the enzyme that helps rebuild the telomere).

In fact, just before I left for Malaysia I found something I want to tell you about… it’s a simple nutrient we’ve known for a long time is essential for anti-aging.

But I’ve discovered that this simple natural substance may be an amazing trigger to switch on the anti-aging action of your telomeres. And if you’re on a telomere maintenance protocol like the one I recommend, this nutrient is vital.

Let me explain…

You already know that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. And telomerase is created and regulated by proteins.

Recently I was looking through the Public Library of Science’s open access journal PLOS One, scouring it for any new studies I could use for my lectures in Malaysia. I found a link to a study published back in 2009 titled “Human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (hTERT) Q169 Is Essential for Telomerase Function In Vitro and In Vivo.”

The title interested me because the words “in vivo” mean that the researches were looking at how telomerase acts in a live organism, not just in a lab-created culture.

When I started reading I realized I had stumbled on something everyone missed, and that no one is talking about…

What I found is that in higher animals like humans, there is a tiny bit of the amino acid glutamine that’s necessary for telomerase to work properly. I won’t bore you with the “science-speak” from the study, but in plain English, without glutamine to create a protein called Q169, telomerase won’t have proper structure or function.1

In other words, if there’s no glutamine, there’s no telomerase.

We’ve known about glutamine in anti-aging for a long time. It’s one of the most common amino acids found in your blood, and a nutrient that is responsible for a lot of your body’s functions.

In fact, when your levels drop, your health in general can suffer.

Prolonged exercise can reduce you glutamine levels by as much as fifty percent. Surgery, burns and infectious diseases can also cause your levels to drop.

Glutamine helps restore glycogen to your muscles, which is a power source used during exercise. It’s a “nitrogen donor,” which means that it helps repair muscle. And it helps prevent muscle breakdown. With glutamine, you build stronger and better muscles, which is why I use it in my patients who are athletes.

What’s more, glutamine helps your body release growth hormone. Researchers from the Louisiana State University College of Medicine found that just 2 grams of glutamine raised HGH levels more than four times higher than those who took a placebo. HGH helps you burn fat and build muscle. Using glutamine to help release it is one of the keys to looking and feeling young.

If you use NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin or Advil, glutamine is essential. As you know, these drugs can cause ulcers, intestinal bleeding or worse.

Supplementing with glutamine can help repair – even reverse – damage caused by NSAIDs. How? Glutamine is the primary source of energy for the cells of your intestinal lining. It’s even been used to treat colitis, Crohn’s disease and diarrhea.

And that’s not all. Here’s just a partial list of glutamine’s other benefits:

  • Strengthens the Immune System: Glutamine powers the cells of the immune system, including T-cells. Even under stress, glutamine fires up your defenses and stimulates powerful antioxidants.
  • Powers the Heart: Glutamine increases endurance by creating energy for the heart.
  • Regulates Blood Pressure: Endothelial cells, which regulate blood pressure in your veins, rely heavily on generating their energy from glutamine. Removal of this energy source can cause your endothelial cells to act like they’re senescent, or no longer functioning.2
  • Fights Hypoglycemia: If your blood sugar drops, glutamine can easily break down in the liver to provide you with more glucose. This means your body won’t have to borrow glucose from muscle tissue. (You’ll lose fat instead of muscle.)
  • Fuels your Friendly Flora: The friendly little defenders in your gut called “microflora” use glutamine for fuel, and then they help turn glutamine into glutathione, one of your body’s most powerful antioxidants. Your microflora also help you make B vitamins and digest your food, but also defend you against toxins and bacteria.

Fortunately, it’s easy to get glutamine by eating the right foods. Most high-protein foods like beef, chicken, fish and beans will have glutamine.

For building muscle, take three grams of glutamine after your workout. For short term treatment of ulcers and colitis, I sometimes use as much as twenty grams a day.

As an immune system booster, and to help your body create telomerase and maintain your telomeres and your DNA health, two grams a day should be enough.

You can find glutamine in your local health food store. It’s best to take the powdered form in water and you don’t need anything else added. It tastes slightly sweet on its own.


1. Wyatt H, Tsang A, Lobb D, Beattie T. "Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) Q169 is essential for telomerase function in vitro and in vivo." PLoS One. 2009 Sep 24;4(9):e7176.
2. Unterluggauer H, et. al. "Premature senescence of human endothelial cells induced by inhibition of glutaminase." Biogerontology. August 2008, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 247-259.