Today we review another piece of important health related biochemistry. This Journal entry takes a look at some very important ongoing research into our human aging process.
The subject matter of today’s entry deals with telomeres and telomerase, a most interesting fascination which sheds some light on the relationship and workings of how past trauma, exercise, and nutrition influences our DNA in its expression of some important aspects of our cellular biochemistry, health, not health, and longevity.
DNA does not autonomously express. Our genetic mechanism requires epigenetic signaling. This means that our DNA is informed about how to express based on messaging from outside of the cell. This messaging will be by way of both biochemical and electromagnetic pieces of information.
As you will discover from the articles I have included in today’s entry, we will be considering some new research information about this epigenetic signaling from the biochemical giants of thought and research over at UCSF.
A few days ago I posted a Journal entry on the biochemistry of obesity, a very nice video presentation of 1.5 hours, given to a lay audience by Dr. Robert Lustig, M.D., of the UCSF Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Today we have some more ground breaking research information from UCSF, presented on April 4, 2011 to the real science people of the world. This is information on your telomeres, what they are, what they do, and what influences their activity in your life.
Will this valuable information trickle down into our medical sector? Sure it will, but it will find its way through the halls of Big Pharma first. Big Pharma is all over this research, for sure. Then the distortions will spring forth, and the Medical Industry will be taught to push such and such a drug. This will actually become pretty interesting to follow.
Why not just do as these articles imply: heal trauma and PTSD, get proper exercise, take some appropriate nutritional supplements, and practice a few other measures which I am fond of?
It will take Big Pharma several years to cook up its multi phase trials, and spend an easy $500 million plus on some trials to “prove” that a telomerase drug is safe and effective. In the meantime, I recommend the natural approaches.
Do you ever read or hear about or know those century plus old folks, when they were asked, “How did you live so long?” They all seem to say one thing,”I never worry about anything.”
Thousands of studies have been published on telomeres and telomerase. They are known to maintain genomic stability, prevent the inappropriate activation of DNA damage pathways, and regulate cellular aging.
In humans, telomere length and integrity plays a role in diseases, disease susceptibility, and aging. Short telomeres are a risk factor for many diseases.
According to H+ Magazine:
“… Several recent studies have indicated that telomerase expression might have significant anti-aging effects … It appears that a few relatively small genetic alterations in the mammalian genome and protein expression patterns, including increased telomerase expression, can result in a significantly longer lifespan and a reduction in age-associated diseases.
Thus it’s very likely that telomerase will be a major target for genetic alterations designed to increase the human lifespan, remaining a very active area in anti-aging research.”
H+ Magazine March 28, 2011, best article, website highly recommended. Note the cartoon on Singularity. Crack a smile.
Eurekalert April 4, 2011, daily developments in the sciences. “Eureka” means “I found it,” the term Archimedes cried out when he discovered the principle of buoyancy, an interesting story in and of itself.
Here is the UCSF news release from www.eurkalert.org, a site I recommend to you so that you can keep up with real science which is not controlled and funded by Big Pharma and the FDA, or the ASDA and Big Agro.
Exercise may Prevent Stress on Telomeres, a Measure of Cell Health
“UCSF scientists are reporting several studies showing that psychological stress leads to shorter telomeres – the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that are a measure of cell age and, thus, health. The findings also suggest that exercise may prevent this damage.
The team focused on three groups: post-menopausal women who were the primary caregivers for a family member with dementia; young to middle-aged adults with post-traumatic stress disorder; and healthy, non-smoking women ages 50 to 65 years.
They examined telomeres in leukocytes, or white blood cells, of the immune system, which defends the body against both infectious agents and cell damage.
‘Our findings suggest that traumatic and chronic stressful life events are associated with shortening of telomeres in cells of the immune system, but that physical activity may moderate this impact,’ said co-author Jue Lin, PhD, associate research biochemist in the laboratory of senior author and Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF.
Lin presented the findings in a poster session on Monday, April 4, 2011, at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011.
Telomeres are tiny units of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that protect and stabilize chromosomes. Every time a cell divides, some telomeres drop off. After a certain number of cell divisions, which varies depending on the cell type, the telomeres reach a critical length and the cell typically dies. Sometimes, however, the cells cease to divide and are subjected to genomic instability, promoting inflammation in the body.
Scientists have known for more than a decade that the length of telomeres in immune system cells is a marker of cell aging. In recent years, they have discovered that shorter telomeres are associated with a broad range of aging-related diseases and are predictive of incidence and poor prognosis of cardiovascular disease and a variety of cancers.
A 2004 study led by Blackburn and UCSF colleague Elissa Epel, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, suggested that psychological stress may impact the length of telomeres in immune system cells. They reported that the perception of psychological stress in female caregivers of chronically sick children was related to shorter telomeres in lymphocytes, key cells of the immune system. This offered the first evidence that telomere maintenance potentially mediates the well documented detrimental effects of stress on health. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nov. 29, 2004)
In the current research, one study, led by Epel, followed for two years 63 healthy postmenopausal women who were the primary caregivers for a family member with dementia. In an earlier analysis of 36 of these women, pessimism was associated with high levels of a pro-inflammatory protein often associated with aging and disease states, and with short telomeres. In a recent and separate analysis of the full group of women, an increase in perceived stress was related to an increase in the odds of having short telomeres only in the non-exercising women. Among those who exercised, perceived stress was unrelated to telomere length. In the current analysis of the larger group, it was revealed that an increase in perceived stress over the course of one year was associated with a decrease in telomere length during that time.
A second study, led by Aoife O’Donovan, PhD, and Thomas Neylan, MD, UCSF professor of psychiatry at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, examined 43 people ages 20 to 50 with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. They were compared to 47 age- and sex-matched individuals without PTSD.The results showed a relationship between PTSD and short telomere length. But even more interesting, said Lin, the finding showed that, in these adults, exposure to childhood trauma – at or before age 14 – also was associated with telomere shortening and accounted for the link between PTSD and telomeres.
A third study, led by Eli Puterman, PhD, analyzed data from 251 healthy, non-smoking women ages 50-65 of varying activity levels. The findings showed that non-exercising women with histories of childhood abuse had shorter telomeres than those with no histories of abuse. But, in those women who exercised regularly, there was no link between childhood abuse and telomere length, after controlling for body mass index, income, education and age.
‘We saw a relationship between childhood trauma and short telomere length but the relationship seems to go away in people who exercise vigorously at least three times a week,‘ Lin said.”
Other co-authors of the poster are Jeff Krauss, Alanie Lazaro, Wanda Truong and Joshua Cheon, all of UCSF.
The studies were funded by National Institute of Aging, National Institute of Mental Health, The Barney and Barbro Fund and The Baumann Foundation.
UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.
Follow UCSF on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ucsf
Crestone and Beyond
The UCSF research is admirable, laudable, and of great value. We can now pause to reflect on the impact of trauma and exercise, or lack thereof, on the health of our cellular expression.
Below we have comments by Dr. Joseph Mercola, another one of those types of M.D.s who is impassioned about keeping abreast of real health related science. I have copied his recent writing on the UCSF research and I recommend the read.
On his website you can review the article and listen to an interview he conducts with a telomere expert at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/18/is-this-the-key-to-living-longer-than-150-years-old.aspx. There is a nice colored picture in this article on the telomere which will assist your understanding.
I find Mercola’s spin on the UCSF telomere research to be of great value because he brings in more information on the value of exercise and the value of enhancing one’s glutathione levels. Glutathione is the body’s most important internally made antioxidant.
Recently in these Journal entries, I have been referencing the ancient and “lost” technologies of the Essene Masters, as discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Essenes advised that all of our problems can be improved by our study and efforts in 6 key parameters of our lives: thought, emotion, feeling, breath, nutrient, and movement.
All of these 6 parameters influence Heart Resonant Frequency and Heart Rate Variability. I have written about these measurable health variables in a number of entries in this Journal. There are over 2000 medical studies since the 1960’s which show that people with high Heart Rate Variability have better health outcomes. It is probably the most important of the vital signs that your physician knows little about.
I refer you to the HeartMath website for further information at this time, www.heartmath.org.
Your Heart is signaling all of your cells and your cellular DNA with an electromagnetic epigenetic pulse of information inside of every second. That signaling is either coherent or chaotic.
I believe that you will find that our good modern day biochemistry science is catching up with this wise technology; a technology which we all possess.
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
“Although telomeres appear to be a brand new addition on the health scene, they were actually first discovered back in the 1930’s. Then, in 1973, Alexey Olovnikov discovered that the telomeres, which are tiny units of DNA at the very end of each chromosome, shorten with time because they cannot replicate completely each time the cell divides.
Hence, as you get older, your telomeres get shorter and shorter.
Eventually, DNA replication and cell division ceases completely, at which point you die. This is now thought to be a major key that explains the process of aging itself, and holds the promise of not just slowing aging, but actually reversing it. Some now believe the human lifespan could be 150 years, or longer.
The video above features Greta Blackburn, co-author of the recently released book The Immortality Edge: Realize the Secrets of Your Telomeres for a Longer, Healthier Life. It’s an excellent read, and I’ll discuss some of the leading strategies to prevent telomere shortening in just a moment. But first, let’s take a look at the research that has catapulted telomeres into the anti-aging limelight.
Telomere Findings Led to 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology
In 1984, Elizabeth Blackburn PhD, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF—not to be confused with Greta Blackburn, featured in the interview above—discovered that the enzyme telomerase has the ability to lengthen the telomere by synthesizing DNA from an RNA primer. She, along with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 “for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.”
I believe the science of telomeres offers the most exciting and viable possibility for extreme life extension—the kind of anti-aging strategy that actually allows you to regenerate and literally “grow younger.”
Naturally, researchers are hard at work devising pharmaceutical strategies to accomplish this, but there’s solid evidence that simple lifestyle strategies can do this too.
This is great news, as short telomeres are a risk factor not just for death itself, but for many diseases as well. For example, telomere shortening has been linked to:
|Decreased immune response against infections||Type 2 diabetes||Atherosclerotic lesions|
|Neurodegenerative diseases||Testicular, splenic, intestinal atrophy||DNA damage|
Animal studies have also shown that these types of health problems can actually be reversed by restoring telomerase functioning.
How does Telomere Length Affect Aging and Lead to Death?
Every cell in your body contains a nucleus, and inside the nucleus are the chromosomes that contain your genes. The chromosome is made up of two “arms,” and each arm contains a single molecule DNA, which is essentially a string of beads made up of units called bases.
A typical DNA molecule is about 100 million bases long. It’s curled up like a slinky, extending from one end of the chromosome to the other. At the very tip of each arm of the chromosome is where you’ll find the telomere.
If you were to unravel the tip of the chromosome, a telomere is about 15,000 bases long at the moment of conception in the womb. Immediately after conception your cells begin to divide, and your telomeres shorten each time the cell divides. Once your telomeres have been reduced to about 5,000 bases, you essentially die of old age.
As stated in The Immortality Edge:
“Telomeres keep our chromosomes intact, in the manner of the plastic caps that hold the ends of shoelaces together. As cells divide and replicate, telomeres eventually shorten; when they become too short, cells die.”
How Your Lifestyle Can Speed up or Slow Down the Aging Process
It stands to reason that many of the strategies that lead to optimal health would also slow down telomere shortening, and research has shown this to be accurate. Conversely, your lifestyle can also accelerate telomere shortening, effectively causing premature aging.
Obesity, lack of exercise, psychological stress and smoking all cause production of free radicals, which can cleave telomeres and significantly speed up the telomere-shortening process.
But that’s not all. Several studies have now linked chronic psychological stress with accelerated telomere shortening, which helps explain the well-documented detrimental effects that stress has on your health.
One such study, led by Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004. They found that female caregivers who reported very high levels of perceived stress had shorter telomeres in their lymphocytes (key cells of your immune system)—equivalent to one decade of additional aging—compared to women reporting low stress levels!
A recent University of California press release also mentions other studies relating to psychological stress and telomere shortening, including one that examined people with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Not only was there a relationship between PTSD and shorter telomere length, but even more remarkable was the correlation between exposure to childhood trauma (prior to the age of 14) and telomere shortening.
In fact, they believe the link between PTSD and decreased telomere length could be attributable to the exposure to childhood trauma, more so than to PTSD.
Another study, led by Eli Puterman, PhD, also found that non-exercising women with histories of childhood abuse had shorter telomeres than women who did not experience such abuse.
Interestingly enough, abuse victims who exercised vigorously at least three times a week showed NO such link! It appears that regular exercise effectively negated the detrimental effects of childhood abuse trauma on their telomeres.
The Age-Reversing Power of Vigorous Exercise
This is truly exciting news!
The buffering effect of exercise on telomere shortening was confirmed again just last year. This study included 63 healthy post-menopausal women, and found that “vigorous physical activity appears to protect those experiencing high stress by buffering its relationship with telomere length (TL).”
In fact, among the women who did not exercise, each unit increase in the Perceived Stress Scale was related to a 15-fold increase in the odds of having short telomeres. Those who did exercise regularly showed no correlation between telomere length and perceived stress!
Greta Blackburn’s book The Immortality Edge: Realize the Secrets of Your Telomeres for a Longer, Healthier Life further details the importance of high-intensity exercise to prevent telomere shortening. The book also offers specific recommendations regarding supplements, diet, and stress-reduction techniques along with clear explanations of the science behind the recommendations.
This is truly a fascinating and groundbreaking realm of longevity research, as being able to reduce telomere shortening—essentially stopping the cellular aging process that eventually kills you—is one of the most promising anti-aging strategies we know of to date.
Much of the research surrounding telomeres is focused on turning on a gene that produces the enzyme telomerase. Your reproductive cells, which contain telomerase, do not undergo the same telomere shortening process that other cells do. So researchers are now screening different chemicals for their ability to turn on the telomerase gene in an effort to develop the first true anti-aging drug.
In the meantime, however, high-intensity exercise like Peak 8 appears to be the most effective all-natural approach to slow down the aging process by reducing telomere shortening.
In fact, research has shown there’s a direct association between reduced telomere shortening in your later years and high-intensity-type exercises. In a study published in Mechanisms of Aging and Development, the authors state:
“The results of the present study provide evidence that leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is related to regular vigorous aerobic exercise and maximal aerobic exercise capacity with aging in healthy humans.
LTL is not influenced by aerobic exercise status among young subjects, presumably because TL is intact (i.e., already normal) in sedentary healthy young adults.
However, as LTL shortens with aging it appears that maintenance of aerobic fitness, produced by chronic strenuous exercise and reflected by higher VO2max, acts to preserve LTL.
… Our results indicate that leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is preserved in healthy older adults who perform vigorous aerobic exercise and is positively related to maximal aerobic exercise capacity. This may represent a novel molecular mechanism underlying the “anti-aging” effects of maintaining high aerobic fitness.”
Peak 8—Your Best Anti-Aging Prescription
Avoid being fooled like 95 percent of those that are exercising. Traditional cardio is not your best bet at improving your health and life, high intensity exercises are.
Peak 8 exercises are a perfect example of high-intensity exercises. The key to performing them properly is to raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold. You keep pushing at maximum effort for 20 to 30 seconds, and then recover for 90 seconds.
The cycle is then repeated for a total of eight repetitions.
Because it is very difficult to accurately measure your heart rate when it is this high it would be best to use a heart rate monitor until you are comfortable with precisely the amount of exertion you need to reach your target zone.
Peak 8 exercises can be performed with any type of exercise — with or without equipment. So, while having access to a gym or exercise equipment will provide you with a larger variety of options, you don’t require either. You can just as easily perform Peak 8 by walking or running outdoors.
Another benefit is the time it will save you. Instead of doing an hour-long cardio workout, you’ll be done in 20 minutes or so. The actual sprinting totals only 4 minutes!
The other exciting benefit of Peak 8-style exercises is its ability to naturally increase your body’s production of human growth hormone (HGH), which also plays a significant role in the aging process.
Increasing Glutathione Levels Also Helps Reduce Telomere Shortening
Another powerful strategy that shows great promise in reducing telomere shortening is to increase your glutathione levels. There are studies in progress indicating that increasing glutathione levels can provide similar results as high-intensity exercise to preserve telomere length.
Glutathione (GHS) is manufactured inside your cells from its precursor amino acids: glycine, glutamate and cysteine, and is therefore not a compound you can ingest directly.
Expensive glutathione supplements are available, but you can also increase your glutathione levels by making sure your diet includes foods rich in the sulfur amino acids your cells need to synthesize glutathione.
Eating a high quality whey protein is the easiest and most convenient way to do this. Other food sources include animal foods and eggs.
I am so convinced of the research on slowing telomere shortening to live longer that I take our Miracle Whey protein every morning (typically after my morning exercise program) and have been doing Peak 8 exercises about twice a week since April 2010.
Again, Peak 8 and organic whey protein are just two lifestyle strategies you can use to slow down telomere shortening. The Immortality Edge contains many others, and you can also read this past article for even more tips to slow down aging and stay healthier, longer.”
Crestone and Beyond
The point of offering you all of this Good Friday information is to assist your deepening understanding of the body-mind-emotion-spirit entity which we all are. You might even rise up from that grave you are digging, and become a worry free century old folk.
You might not want to live forever in an old body, however. Heaven is much nicer anyway. For you optimist types like myself, who want to assist in human and global change, just hang in there, work on those telomeres, and study and get ready. Your opportunity is coming.
We all carry an inherent reflexive Identity misunderstanding. We think and feel in our bodies that we are all individual units separate from each other and separate from the rest of Creation. Quantum science is proving otherwise. Self realized beings know otherwise.
The ancient seers and the current day knowers, from shamans to mystics to self realized beings to quantum physicists, all attest to the fact that we are all in a union with Singularity, a field of consciousness. Some refer to this field as the quantum hologram, or, the Mind of God.
I once heard Deepak Chopra describe the Field as “acausal non-local quantum mechanical interrelatedness.” The first word, “acausal” means that the Field is without “cause.” The term “non-local” means that the Field has no location. It is everywhere, in all forms of space and time.
I like the term Singularity. I also call it the “Heavens to Betsy Fractal Infinity Principle.” It’s fun to use words to describe something, using our Brain Mind which, is way beyond words and other descriptive forms. The ineffable does not readily lend itself to anthropomorphically spun verbiage.
The anthropomorhic movement started in 325 A.D. when the Council of Nicea deleted some 25 Biblical texts, and also some 20 supporting documents. God has been judgmental and angry ever since, naturally.
I’m pretty angry and judgmental about the edits myself. Imagine what kind of world we might have if humanity had been taught these wise healing technologies. No matter, a time is upon us when guns will be turned into plows, and we will stop teaching war.
We are not separate from our Universe (our Creator/Creation) which seeks to know and enjoy Itself through all of Its Creation. We are Co-creators with Creation.
The concept of Singularity is the central key concept which is foundational to understanding and practicing the optimal human chemistry, the chemistry which will allow the best telomere and DNA expression.
Why? Because it will help you forgive trauma out of the flesh, and heal your self sabotage patterns.
This chemistry occurs in our body as we Become Compassion through our practice of Self Love.
Why is it that we struggle with loving our own self? We seem to easily love someone or something “outside” of ourselves, but we have difficulty directing this same love inward to our own self. When we realize that we are in Singularity with all, then our outward projected love can be felt as a love of self also. This is a start.
The Essene Masters instructed us in the tenets of an inner technology of understanding our Oneness with every life circumstance which comes our way. One can spend one’s lifetime practicing a single tenet.
I shall next post these tenets in “Becoming Compassion, Part II.”
May your telomeres stay long and prosper.
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond.