You are what you eat! This statement is true from a nutritional and metabolic standpoint.
A program to optimize one's health begins with documented your nutritional status using laboratory testing and then augmenting any deficiencies.
Nutritional health minimizing these associated risk factors are recommended:
- Increase physical activity
- Correct micro-nutritional deficiencies (especially: Vitamin C, D & E)
- Avoid weight gain, using diet & exercise is best
- Reduce oxidative stress
- Correct insulin resistance & sugar (glucose) abnormal metabolism, best by being close to one’s ideal body weight
- Optimize treatment of cardiovascular conditions, such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and atherosclerosis
- Correct micronutrient deficiencies
There is strong evidence linking longer telomeres with those who exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes daily. The converse is also true; a sedentary lifestyle is linked to shorter telomeres and higher risk for age-related diseases. Moderate exercise training will increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase & superoxide dismutase), which protect telomeres.
Those taking multivitamins daily have been shown to have younger biological cells than those not taking vitamins.
The normal metabolic process of digesting food is a significant generator of oxidative stress. Not only will excess caloric intake lead to being overweight, but it creates additional oxidative stress during digestion, especially of inflammatory foods. Obesity is associated with shortened telomeres and a shortened life span.
An inflammatory diet (one that increases oxidative stress) shortens telomeres faster. The inflammatory diet includes:
- refined carbohydrates
- fast foods
- processed foods
- artificial sweeteners
- trans fats and saturated fats.
The Nutritional Diet with a large amount of antioxidants improves oxidative defenses and will slow telomere shortening and will help preserve telomere length.
An optimal diet includes a recommended 10 servings each day of:
- fresh and relatively uncooked fruits and vegetables
- mixed fiber
- monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids
- cold water fish
- high quality vegetable proteins
Minimize Emotional Stress
Psychological distress reduces enzyme telomerase activity. Also, exposure of cells to cortisol (the main stress hormone) from emotional distress has been directly associated with telomere attrition.
Minimize the Bodies Physiological Stress (Reduce Inflammation)
Anything that makes your cells divide (infection, inflammation, routine division for replacement due to oxidative damage or wound healing) will decrease their telomere length.
Increase Antioxidant Defenses
Powerful antioxidants, such as glutathione, reservatrol, and superoxide dismutase function to slow telomere shortening at the cellular level. Proper function and balance of various antioxidants in the body is critical for telomere health.
Correct MicroNutrient Deficiencies
Micronutrient status has a direct effect on telomere length. A single micronutrient deficiency can profoundly affect the rate of telomere shortening:
- Copper – Copper is a known cofactor to the powerful antioxidant superoxide dismutase, which affects a cell’s potential to resist oxidative stress, one of the major causes of telomere attenuation.
- Folate – Folate affects the integrity of DNA by providing precursors to nucleotide synthesis via methylation pathways. Research has shown a positive association between folate status and telomere length.
- Glutathione – This antioxidant plays a key role in preserving telomere function in endothelial cells by regulating intracellular oxidation homeostasis.
- Magnesium – Researchers measured a decrease in telomere length in magnesium deficient rat liver cells, when compared to a control group with no induced magnesium deficiency.
- Selenium – Its antioxidant properties ultimately affects a cell’s ability to resist oxidative stress. At least one experiment has shown that the administration of selenium in vivo significantly extended the telomere length of liver cells.
- Zinc – When the relationship between telomere shortening and zinc status was investigated, researchers found that impaired zinc homeostasis, which is linked to an increase in inflammatory markers, was associated with critical shortening of telomeres.
- B -Vitamins – Increased homocysteine levels are associated with shortened telomeres. Deficiencies in vitamins B6, B12 or folate can impair homocysteine metabolism, raising its level in blood and linking it with accelerated telomere loss. Administration of vitamin B3 to human fibroblasts decreases the rate of telomere shortening, extending their lifespan.
- Vitamin C – Administration of vitamin C to human epithelial cells mitigates telomere loss via reduction of reactive oxygen species.
- Vitamin D – A potent inhibitor of the pro-inflammatory response, higher vitamin D concentrations have been associated with longer telomere length in leukocytes.
- Vitamin E – Repression of age-dependent telomere shortening has been demonstrated with vitamin E administration, especially when combined with vitamin C.