Anti-Aging Effects of Lengthening Telomeres
Updated: Aug 20, 2022
Recently returning from a conference in San Diego—we deep dived into the world of bio-identical hormone replacement, as well as top anti-aging and regenerative medicine research.
One of the fascinating topics included clinically studied effects of how telomere length can prolong life or as Dr. Rothenberg states, “slow the mammalian death program.”
Telomeres are caps found at the ends of our DNA strands that are meant to protect our chromosomes. As cells divide throughout our lives, telomeres begin to shorten and damage our DNA. This, unfortunately, can lead to a world of disease, inflammation, cancer, and eventually death. Studies have also shown that those with shortened telomeres are associated with higher adverse events and death from COVID-19.
Shortened telomeres are linked to depression, atherosclerosis and plaque instability, and many other complements of aging such as mitochondrial dysfunction, damaged immune function, and epigenetic alterations.
What makes our telomeres shorter?
When we look to other species that can live 100-200 years—sea turtles for example—we see there is a very important difference in their telomerase activity. We see that turtles have the ability to retain telomere length throughout their lifetime. What tends to kills these species is not their inner “death program” but the environment around them, such as consuming dangerous plastics.
Recent research has isolated the telomerase enzyme that can actually prolong and preserve telomere length—calling it an “intelligent antioxidant.” A product of the Chinese Astragalus plant, this telomerase enzyme adds DNA codes onto the telomeric ends of chromosomes, while compensating for the subtraction of telomere length as cells divide.
A recent randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study by Salvador L, et al. found a statistically significant increase in telomere length at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months after supplementing with a telomerase activator (2016).
At 12 months there was a increase of 533 telomere base pairs, as compared to a decrease of 288 base pairs in the placebo group (Salvador & et al., 2016).
Safety studies that have been conducted for over 19 years, have found no significant adverse events, as well as no increase in cancer with taking a telomerase activator. However, we do know that shortened telomeres are predictive of cancer and death (Willeit P et al., 2010).
What are beneficial effects of prolonged telomere length? Improvements of the following:
IMMUNE FUNCTION (reverses T cell breakdown)
QUALITY OF LIFE
Using telomerase activation in combination with lifestyle changes, nutraceuticals, and hormone optimization can significantly aid in one’s ability to optimize health and prolong life.
What’s next? As new research emerges, we can hope to see the results of 20 year double-blinded studies on the effects of telomerase activation. However, with the studies we already have, the results are promising in the short term, as well as present a correlation between increased telomere length and increased supplementation time.
As with life, we are constantly being hit with stressors, toxins, etc—therefore continuous supplementation can help with the natural waves of telomerase shortening.
Other ways of increasing telomerase in the body include using peptides. Epithalamine, a peptide produced from the pineal gland was found during anti-aging studies. This peptide helps your body increase telomerase naturally, and can be used as another source of supplementation by using a synthetic replica of the peptide called Epithalon.
There are many objective ways to measure one’s telomere length, using genomic sequence testing that compares telomere length to that of a population of your similar age. This can give you a baseline before starting therapy, as well as give you an estimated biological age.
The world of anti-aging brings forth many spiritual inquiries—is all of the natural world our pharmacy or do we let nature run its course? Are we being supported to prolong quality of life, or is our toxic world a weapon? What does prolonging life do for both ourselves and the collective? Why are we running “death programs?”
Perhaps the answers to these questions are subjective, for nothing is ever a battle when you follow what resonates.
Kelsey MSN, FNP-C
Watch the video version here on YouTube
References: Peptides, Biotech. “Epitalon Aka Epithalamine - a Potent Anti-Aging Peptide.” Biotech Peptides USA, 8 June 2022, https://biotechpeptides.com/2022/04/06/epitalon-aka-epithalamine-a-potent-anti-aging-peptide/.
Rothenberg, Ron. “Telomerase Activation.” The American Academy of Anti-Aging. Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Symposium, 18 June 2022, San Diego, California.
Salvador L, et al. A Natural Product Telomerase Activator Lengthens Telomeres in Humans: A Randomized, Double Blind, and Placebo Controlled Study. Rejuvenation Res. 2016 Mar 30.
Wangetal. Shorter leukocyte telomere length is associated with adverse COVID-19 outcomes: A cohort in UK Biobank. EBioMedicine 70 (2021).
Willeit, Peter, et al. “Telomere Length and Risk of Incident Cancer and Cancer Mortality.” JAMA, vol. 304, no. 1, 2010, p. 69., https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2010.897.