So there is a new way of thinking about human aging and how to slow the process – naturally…
In fact, new research into telomeres and aging is showing us how we can literally reverse the aging process.
It’s not all about the DNA of our cells becoming progressively damaged…
— (cue the dramatic music) —
It’s about the caps on the end of our shoelaces…I mean the caps on the end of our DNA – aka ‘the telomere’ (boom boom boom!)
There are other factors that can contribute to cellular death and aging, however, the telomere connection is clear and it begins at an early age.
Understanding the connection between your telomeres and aging, will not only allow you to live a longer life – but it will also help to live a happier life and reduce your potential risk of suffering from a chronic disease.
The greatest news is that: you have the power to slow – and even REVERSE – the aging of your telomeres.
So let’s begin with the basics and work our way up to the profound…
What are Telomeres and Telomerase?
At the cellular level, each cell has its own lifespan…
Beginning with rapid division and cell renewal, and ending with a stage where the cell does not divide anymore and becomes unreliable in performing its basic functions.
As the cell ages, it begins sending out faulty chemical messages and interpreting incoming messages incorrectly.
It is unable to heal itself and then inflammatory substances begin leaking through the cell membrane into the bloodstream and the surrounding tissue.
This stage is often referred to as ‘cellular senescence’ – which is the cellular equivalent of aging.
So really, as our cells age – so do we…
And the most significant evidence in support of this comes from research into our genes and specifically – a section of DNA known as the telomere.
Inside your cells and at the ends of each chromosome (which contains hundreds to thousands of genes) – are protective caps called telomeres.
You can think of them like the caps at the end of shoelaces, or the ticking clock of the cell.
They are “noncoding” DNA – which means that they are not genes and they do not have a specific function in building cells.
— But hang on…this doesn’t mean that they are passive —
The actual function of the telomere appears to be to preserve the cell.
In 2008, molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn shared the Nobel Prize with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for their discovery of telomerase.
Telomerase is an enzyme that replenishes telomeres.
What this means is that – Telomerase can literally reverse the aging process! 
They took some of the mystery out of aging when they described telomeres and the levels of telomerase in the cell – as the best marker for the process of aging.
Why Do Telomeres Shorten?
As we age, the telomeres throughout our body shorten.
They also stop doing their job so well, which is to protect your genes and stop your older cells from replicating.
This is the start of the aging process and the underlying mechanism that contributes to most diseases of aging.
Decades of clinical research has shown that your telomere length is associated with the risk of heart disease (America’s No.1 cause of death), cancer, neurological disorders – the list goes on.
In your body, cells are constantly dividing. Each time this happens – its telomeres are shortened.
Shortened or frayed telomeres are typical of aged cells, whereas longer telomeres are typical of younger cells.
Longer Telomeres = Younger Cells
The work of the Nobel Prize winning scientists (Blackburn, Greider and Szostak), implied that by increasing your telomerase levels, which causes telomeres to grow longer, you could encourage healthy cells to keep renewing themselves for decades.
And as the number of centenarians explodes – the protection of your cells and slowing of the aging process has become more urgent than ever.
So let’s take a look at how to preserve your shoe lace caps shall we…
How to Prevent Telomeres Shortening?
By protecting your telomeres, you can preserve the information in your genome, slow the aging process and reduce your disease risk.
Telomerase Activation – is even being considered as a therapeutic strategy for many diseases.
Pretty powerful huh? No wonder this discovery was worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize…
Now the real questions is – “How do we prevent our telomeres from shortening?”
Well, given that telomeres are not genes (which determine your ancestry)….
Your telomeres can actually change and improve with improved lifestyle factors.
We are talking about:
- Reducing your stress levels (both mental stress and oxidative stress);
- Getting better nutrition;
- Increasing or optimising the type of physical activity you engage in;
- Getting better sleep; and
- Detoxifying your body on a regular basis.
You may even want to ditch your job and become a beekeeper!
A 2015 study, showed that the telomere length of beekeepers was significantly longer than those of non-beekeepers. This suggests that they may live a longer life. It was also found that the frequent consumption of bee products (e.g. honey, propolis etc.) was associated with longer telomere length. 
[CODE ALERT] The underlying blueprint of the beehive and a bee’s eye is the hexagon – a scared geometric shape. Bees are excellent mathematicians and great at saving energy…
— Hmmm….now back to regular transmission —
The ancient Egyptians were the first beekeepers and they considered bees to be sacred. They used honey as both a food and medicine, with the Pharaoh receiving a daily allotment of honey. Is there something that they understood and respected more fully than us?
There are many aspects to telomerase activation and how to prevent telomeres shortening, but just remember that you can do it yourself – using nothing but the intelligence of nature. More on this in an upcoming post…
The Hayflick Limit and Your True Biological Age
So we need to get out heads around the fact that our chronological age is not the same as our biological age.
Our chronological age is how old we are according to the calendar.
But more importantly, our biological age is how old our body actually is.
The biological age of your cells is crucial…
The Hayflick Limit helps us to explain the mechanisms behind the aging of our cells.
It’s a concept that suggests that human cells can’t replicate themselves infinitely. Rather it states that normal human cells can only replicate and divide forty to sixty times before it cannot divide anymore, resulting in cell death.
Hayflick hypothesized that the limited replicability of human cells was related to aging in cells and, consequently, to human aging.
The work of the Nobel Prize winning scientists (Blackburn, Greider and Szostak), was actually based around telomeres and their relation to the Hayflick Limit.
With every cell division your telomeres get shorter.
Census data and complex modelling methods were then used to estimate that, currently, the maximum human lifespan was likely to be around 125 years.
Whether we can change the Hayflick Limit to live longer like the giant tortoise or the bowhead whale, is currently unknown. Also, under standard laboratory conditions, mouse cells have been shown to behave as if they have no Hayflick Limit at all! 
Whether or not we can use the Hayflick Limit and telomere length to determine your maximum lifespan is currently quite contentious.
Many laboratories offer testing to determine your telomerase level and telomerase length. They can also provide you with an estimate of your cellular age and telomere health.
The ‘epigenetic clock’ is also a term that has been coined, which focusses on DNA methylation levels. Also referred to as the ‘Horvath Clock’, it uses a biochemical test (that can be used to estimate your true biological age.
— Biohackers heaven —
The recent Nobel Peace Prize winning discovery of telomeres and telomerase, has now revealed the power each one of us has to grow measurably younger cells and slow the aging process.
Telomerase can literally reverse the aging process.
If we can learn how to keep our cells in state of renewal, then we can experience anti-aging effects.
A healthy lifestyle can help your cells to keep renewing themselves for decades. This helps us to extend our health and lifespan and ultimately achieve longevity.
Telomerase Activation is even being considered as a therapeutic strategy to combat disease. You can implement telomerase activation as a preventative measure for your own body too.
To work with the intelligence of your body – you need to speak to it in a language that it understands.
Learn how to Embody Nature and you can turn on the medicine within your own body and activate your highest potential.
Living a healthy and inspired life should be simple – not complicated and confusing, which only encourages us to give our power away to someone else.
Let’s go with the flow of the river not against it…
Keep an eye out for future posts as we delve in to some of the best natural techniques to:
- Activate your telomerase
- Lengthen your telomeres
- Slow the aging process
If you have any comments or questions on telomeres and aging or perhaps you have estimated your true biological age, drop me a message below – I would love to hear from you…
 Blackburn, E. & Epel, E., 2017. The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer. Published by Orion Spring, London.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Intelligent by Nature or its staff.