The Importance of Telomerase and Lengthening telomeres

The Importance of Telomerase and Lengthening telomeres

The Importance of Telomerase and Lengthening telomeres

April 20, 2019

Do you know?

  • having a healthy and lengthen telomere can assist with the ageing problem?
  • as we grow older, the number of telomeres in our body reduces and lead to health issues?
  • there are many ways you can lengthen your telomeres naturally?

You have billions of DNA cells in your body. What do you think you'd find at the ends of these chromosomes if you could zoom in close enough to see? You'd see the sequence TTAAGGG repeated over and over and over again. These repetitive regions on the ends of your chromosomes are telomeres.

Your telomeres act as caps at the end of your chromosomes that work to protect the internal region. With each new round of DNA replication, these protective ends get slightly more worn. This is because it's not possible for the DNA at the very end of the chromosome to be copied and replicated at a 100% success rate. Each time the DNA replicates, there are leftover overhanging strands that slowly get eaten away. In turn, this can lead to premature cell ageing. (1)

How Telomerase Works

This is where telomerase comes in. Some of your cells have the natural ability to produce telomerase. This is an enzyme that can extend the telomeres on the end of your chromosomes. It's classified as an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase. In short, this means that telomerase is capable of making more DNA by using RNA as a template.

A little bit of science, Telomerase works by binding directly to a specialized RNA molecule that has a sequence that complements the original telomere sequence of 5'-TTAGGG-3'. In turn, it extends the small overhanging strand of telomere DNA by using the RNA molecule as a template or building block. Once it makes this overhanging strand long enough, normal DNA replication can take over and continue the cycle.

Why It's Important to Lengthen Telomeres

Shortened telomeres and a lack of telomerase have strong links to many health problems that get worse as you get older. If you don't take steps to lengthen your telomeres, you could be at an increased risk of the following:

  • Arthritis - Arthritis in chronic inflammation in your body, particularly surrounding your joints. It's a broad term that encompasses over 100 inflammatory diseases. Telomeres is critical because research found that telomere shortening can contribute to the disease's initiation and continued progression. (2) (3)
  • Cardiovascular Disease - 17.9 million people die each year from cardiovascular disease, and shortened telomeres plays a vital role in the disease's development. It makes cells more prone to inflammation and aging. (4) (5)
  • Alzheimer's Disease- Alzheimer's Disease is a slow and progressive disease that causes people to lose their ability to remember and eventually perform everyday tasks. Shortened telomeres can prompt Alzheimer's disease to start, and ti can also speed up the disease's progression. (6) (7)
  • Infertility- Shortened telomeres due to a lack of telomerase can lead to infertility and problems with normal development of embryos in both men and women. (8)

Steps You Can Take to Lengthen Your Telomeres

Lengthening your telomeres is key to helping prevent these common health problems. You can help support your telomeres levels by incorporating several easy strategies into your daily routine. These things include:

  • Get and maintain a healthy weight - Being overweight and having a larger area of belly fat can significantly shorten your telomeres. Having excess fat stores around your organs can cause oxidative stress on your cells, so losing weight can reduce your oxidative stress levels. (9)
  • Eat antioxidant-rich food - Antioxidants from the foods you eat can help add a protective layer to your cells and heal oxidative stress. You can eat a few of these foods every day to increase your antioxidant levels naturally, and good food choices include blueberries, pomegranate, peppers, spinach, kale, and oranges. (10)
  • Exercise - Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can help boost how well your systems work, reduce your body fat ratio, and help to get your cells healthier. As you start to tone up and slim down, you'll feel and look better.

Reference: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408703/

  2. https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4412548/

  4. https://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/world-heart-day/en/

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5042389/

  6. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23161153

  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29609488

  9. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/phys-ed-how-exercising-keeps-your-cells-young/?_r=1

  10. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/89/5/1543S/4596924