Telomere more

Ever heard of telomeres? They’re the protective protein complexes that cap your chromosomes. But as you age, your telomeres shorten, and their ability to protect your chromosomes weakens.

That’s why telomere length has emerged as a modern marker of biological old age. Simply put, every snip to your telomeres brings your body one step closer to disease.

Which is precisely what makes the study results I’m about to share so exciting.

As part of a new, small study, researchers followed 35 men for five years. During this time, they instructed 10 of the subjects to implement a strategic combo of lifestyle changes. Namely, a diet built around whole food and rich in fruits and vegetables, daily exercise, and relaxation and stress management (including things like regular yoga practice).

This lifestyle intervention featured three months’ worth of weekly support sessions to ensure a successful change in habits. The remaining 25 subjects, meanwhile, were asked not to change a thing. And let’s just say the difference showed.

At the end of the study, telomere length among the 25 men in the control group shortened by an average of 3 percent. But among the men who changed their habits, telomeres actually lengthened–by an average of 10 percent.

The largest increases, naturally, were among those men who were most dedicated to their new healthy lifestyle. In other words, on a cellular level, these men actually got younger over the course of five years.

It might be premature to speculate about what these results mean on a practical level. But this particular study was part of a larger investigation dealing with prostate cancer. And based on what we know about the role of telomere length in disease, it’s obvious that the influence of lifestyle changes in this arena is profound.

It’s what I’m always telling you, after all. Eating well and staying active really is the not-so-secret fountain of youth. And it’s never too late to reap the rewards of positive change.

“In small study, healthy lifestyle fights cell ageing.” Yahoo News. 17 Sept. 2013.