Aging is inevitable. But have you noticed that some very elderly people still don’t miss a thing?
Some of my patients fall into this category. I’ve worked with many centenarians who remain quick-witted, with keen memories and focus.
You can be one of these people, too — an all-star senior…
Inside all of you, your cells are constantly busy dividing up to two trillion times per day. The new cells replace old, damaged, or dead cells and help you live, grow and thrive.
Human cell lines have built-in mortality. As your cells divide, there’s a limit at which their limit is reached.
There’s an internal mechanism or authority that sets the limit on cell division and shuts down the cell line when that limit is reached… causing cell death.
If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m talking about telomeres…the little bit of genetic material found at the end of each strand of DNA in your cells.
Telomeres control aging. Every time your cells divide, your telomeres get shorter — and as a result, your body produces cells that are older, weaker, and more decrepit.
Worse, as your telomeres shorten, your body ages more rapidly. In addition to heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and many other age-related ailments, this built-in telomere shortening leads to memory loss… dementia… and Alzheimer’s.
But there is good news…
Medical research shows that when you take steps to restore and lengthen your telomeres, you prevent aging and, in turn, safeguard your health — which is especially important when it comes to your central command system — your brain.
Numerous studies have linked telomere health directly with cognitive health. And they’ve found that longer, healthier telomeres were an indicator of superior cognitive functioning.
In an eye-opening study reported by The Journals of Gerontology, the telomere length of centenarians in great health was compared to those in poor health.
Centenarians in great health — those with healthy hearts and clear mental focus — had significantly longer telomeres than their unhealthy counterparts.1
In another study of centenarians, the relationship between telomere length and age-related health conditions was clearly shown. Centenarians with longer telomeres were free of cognitive problems, while those suffering from cognitive problems had shorter telomeres.2
In a study of 62 nurses aged 70 plus (see chart on the right), women with short telomeres were 12 times more likely to develop dementia and 9.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.3
But when you prevent telomeres from getting shorter, you can program your body to create younger cells. This restores youth and power to your body and revitalizes lost memories and foggy brains.
This means telomeres are key to keeping your mind sharp!
Your cells’ telomeres come with an enzyme designed to rebuild them called telomerase.
When you nurture your body with telomerase, you boost telomeres and power up cells in your whole body, but especially in your brain.
Just how important is this age-defying enzyme for giving you healthier, younger cells?
Doctors at the University of Southern California found that telomerase is the key to the fountain of youth. It’s the enzyme that maintains cellular longevity.
Telomerase prevents your cells from losing their ability to divide and grow, keeping them young and healthy. And, in turn, keeping your brain young and healthy.
So how do you increase telomerase production in your body? The best way to start is through your diet.
2 simple ways to maximize brain power
by increasing telomere length
In a previous letter, I talked about the top two nutrients – DHA and vitamin D3 – that increase telomerase and boost brain health.
But they’re by no means the only brain-saving supplement I recommend. Here are two more easy ways to increase your brain performance by maximizing telomere length:
- Supplement with overlook super-nutrient. An important study out of Malaysia backs up what I’ve observed for years in my own clinic:That an overlooked form of vitamin E not only prevents brain damage but can help repair it. In the study, researchers found that tocotrienols substantially reduce the formation of white matter lesions — the damaged area in your brain that contribute to Alzheimer’s and dementia.4Another exciting new study suggests tocotrienols also regulate your brain’s ability to receive and use DHA.5 As a regular reader, you know that your brain is 60% omega-3 fatty acids, and DHA makes up 40% of that.
You see, tocotrienols are a hugely important anti-aging nutrient that lengthens telomeres. In one study, telomere lengths were 16% longer than controls when exposed to gamma-tocotrienol.6 A second study demonstrated that tocotrienols actually extended the length of telomeres while preventing damage to DNA.7
A good way to naturally get tocotrienols into your body is to add them to your diet. Annatto oil, palm oil, dark leafy green vegetables, cashews, almonds, and pistachios are all excellent sources of tocotrienols. I also suggest supplementing with 50 mg of pure tocotrienols a day.
- Add this ancient spice. Curcumin is a brain-saving superfood. It turns out the spice can help stop your telomeres from shortening and even make them grow longer.Clinical studies show it does this by activating the telomere-protecting enzyme telomerase. Telomerase helps preserve and lengthen telomeres – which slows down and even reverses the aging of your brain.8In fact, with every increase in telomere length, your brain can become biologically younger by another year. Just imagine how it would be to regain the laser-sharp focus and quick memory you had decades ago.
It’s hard to get the curcumin you need from foods. Look for a supplement that contains piperine. This black pepper compound has been shown to make curcumin more bioavailable. Take it with a healthy fat to further increase its bioavailability. I suggest using 3,000 mg daily.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Terry, DE et al. Association of longer telomeres with better health in centenarians. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med 2008 Aug:63(8):809-12
2. Atzmon, G, et al. Association between lifestyle and telomere length ..Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Proc Natal Acad Sci USA 2010 Jan 26:107.
3. Devore EE, et al. “Relative telomere length and cognitive decline in the Nurses’ Health Study.” Neuroscience Lett. 2011 Mar 29
4. Gopalan Y, et al. “Clinical investigation of the protective effects of palm vitamin E tocotrienols on brain white matter.” Stroke. 2014 May;45(5):1422-8.
5. Linus Pauling Institute. “Vitamin E protects omega 3 fatty acids and the brain.” https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/feature-story/vitamin-e-protects-omega-3-fatty-acids-and-brain. Accessed January 11, 2023.
6. Makpol S, et al. “γ-Tocotrienol prevents oxidative stress-induced telomere shortening in human fibroblasts derived from different aged individuals.” Oxid Med Cell Longev. v.3(1); Jan-Feb 2010. PMC2835887.
7. Makpol S, et al. “Tocotrienol-rich fraction prevents cell cycle arrest and elongates telomere length in senescent human diploid fibroblasts.” J Biomed Biotechnol. V.2011;2011.
8. Xiao Z, et al. “Telomerase: A target for therapeutic effects of curcumin and a curcumin derivative in Aβ1-42 insult in vitro.” PLOS One. 2014;9(7):e101251.