Telomeres are the specialized structures at the end of chromosomes that protect the signal of DNA throughout our life. This is similar to how our shoelaces have plastic at the end to protect so that our shoelaces do not unravel. We are conceived with about 15,000 nucleotides in each telomere (nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA and telomeres) and then born with about 10,000 nucleotides. As our cells replicate and are broken down by oxidative stress, we shorten these telomeres. It is the length of this telomere that is a direct correlation with health, wellness, and longevity. There is also another component of telomere length by looking at telomerase that protects the telomeres. We know some things like estrogen help to increase telomerase to protect the length. Research is still ongoing in this field
We have found some positive research with some Chinese Medical Herbs and protecting the length of the telomeres. Shoushen and Astragulus are two Chinese Herbs that have been shown to have a positive effect on telomere length.
For now, I think in order to preserve the telomeres, we have to look at the cultures that have been able to live longer and healthier. Dan Buettner, from the University of Minnesota, has become an expert in longevity through his work and exploring the “Blue Zones.” These are cultures and groups of people that are living longer. By looking to these communities we can get answers on how to live healthier and preserve our telomere length.
Here is the link to the article about Dinner with Blue Zone Solutions Author Dan Buettner: