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The Long and Short of Telomeres

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Talk of telomeres is making its way into health news today more than ever. Until recently you may not have heard of telomeres. Now that you have, you still might not understand their importance. Let’s look at the long and short of telomeres.

Coming to Terms

First, some definitions. A chromosome is a thin, thread-like structure made of proteins and DNA that is found in the nucleus of cells. It carries genetic information and plays a role in the transfer of genetic information – or genes – from one generation to the next.

Telomeres are the protective caps found at the tips of chromosomes that keep the ends from becoming frayed or tangled. They prevent the loss of genetic information during cell divisions thus ensuring chromosome integrity and protecting the chromosomes from deterioration. However, telomeres become a bit shorter each time a cell divides. The cell dies once the telomere becomes so short that the cell can no longer divide. Telomeres, these things that so many of us are unaware of, actually have profound implications for our health and our longevity.

Long and Short

Research has shown that the length of our telomeres is a biomarker of cellular aging and overall health. As we age, the cumulative effects of cell division, along with oxidative stress and inflammation, cause the telomeres to shorten. Shortened telomeres are associated with increased risk of age-related diseases, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative disorders.

Until very recently, all the available science pointed towards individuals with longer telomeres having better health and longevity. Although that science still stands, it has been found that while “normal” length telomeres represent health, telomere length outside of the normal range – that being either too short or too long – put people at risk of disease.

However, longer telomeres but still within the normal range are seen to indicate greater cellular resilience. They provide a buffer against the cellular aging process, allowing cells to divide and replicate more effectively. They are also associated with enhanced immune function, improved stress resilience, and reduced inflammation.

Staying Normal

The good news is, there are things we can do to mitigate the shortening of our telomeres. Interestingly, all of these things are key components of living your ideal 100 Year Lifestyle. They include:

Eat well. By eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you combat oxidative stress and inflammation which contribute to telomere shortening.
Exercise regularly. Engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to preserve telomere length and promote cellular health.
Manage stress. Chronic stress accelerates telomere shortening through the release of stress hormones and increased oxidative stress.
Sleep. By prioritizing restorative sleep, you support cellular repair and regeneration.
Develop healthy habits. Smoking, excessive alcohol, and exposure to environmental toxins can accelerate telomere shortening and undermine cellular health.
Connect. By cultivating meaningful relationships and social connections, you can buffer against the detrimental effects of stress and promote psychological well-being, which in turn can support telomere health.
See your chiropractor regularly. Yes! That’s right. While much research tells us that vertebral subluxations obstruct the nervous system and have numerous effects on body chemistry, a specific study has shown that chiropractic adjustments to remove those subluxations led to improvement in patient telomere length. Now here’s yet another reason why a healthy spine and nervous system are essential for a long and healthy life.

100 Year Lifestyle Provider

If you could use some help keeping your spine and nervous system free from subluxations and your telomeres from getting short, no problem! There’s a 100 Year Lifestyle provider near you who’s ready to help you on your healthy longevity journey!

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