How To Live Longer

In 2009 a medical team won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for solving part of the mystery of human mortality. They discovered that telomeres, which are part of our DNA and which shorten as we age, can actually be repaired. Longer telomeres might lead to longer lives.

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Image source: http://drraffaele.com/

What Are Telomeres? 

Every cell in our body has a nucleus that contains chromosomes, which are comprised of DNA. Telomeres are like plastic tips on shoelaces: they sit at the ends of DNA strands to keep them from fraying. Our cells are constantly dividing to replace older cells and to grow. Every time a cell divides, it unzips and copies a strand of DNA. In the process, telomeres get a little shorter. So the longer you live, the shorter your telomeres will be.

Telomeres shorten with age. Source: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/chromosomes/telomeres/

Telomeres shorten with age. Source: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/chromosomes/telomeres/

Shorter telomeres lead to more mistakes in cell division, and may be shortening your lifespan. Like a shoelace with no tips, the DNA strands come apart, leading to errors in their replication, or no replication at all. Very old people have very short telomeres, which leads to imperfect cell division and more cell death.

Your behavior can change telomeres length.

Meditate, eat right, exercise, and have more love and intimacy in your life to improve the thickness of your telomeres. You’ll trigger telomerase, which is a newly discovered enzyme that repairs telomeres. In some studies, telomere length increased by 10% with changes in the lifestyle.

The greater the lifestyle change, the longer one’s telomere’s grow.

This is a case where more is indeed better. More exercising, eating right, meditating, and socializing all lead to more telomerase activity.

The Lesson:

Our bodies, down to the molecular level, need exercise, relaxation, sleep, friends, natural food, and love. Get as much as these as you can if you want to live a long and healthy life.

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