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Telomeres and Longevity

October 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Articles of Interest

This is an interesting summary article that discusses telomeres and their effects on cell aging, cancer and cell death.  Telomeres are the very ends of your chromosomes, and as the cell goes through its normal divisions, the telomeres get shorter.  Think of telomeres as the plastic tips on the ends of your shoelaces.  As the cell divides, those plastic tips get shorter.

It is believed that at a certain point when the length of the telomeres decreases a certain point, this signals the cell to begin the process of apoptosis, or normal programmed cell death.  All cells have a finite lifetime and undergo controlled cell death.  For example, red blood cells have a lifetime of about 120 days, whereas cells in your mouth have a lifetime of three days. 

One area of research involves studying apoptosis and determining if we can increase the lifespan of a cell through certain treatments.  The jury is still out on this.  However, I can tell you that through proper diet, exercise, and stress reduction, you can decrease the amount of oxidative stress that your cells see, and that will have an effect on cellular aging.

Here is the original article.  Telomeres:  The Key to Longevity

If you have any questions about this, please contact me.

To Your Health!

Dr. Harvey

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