An Integrative Approach: Increase Your Telomerase Activity to Slow Aging
Decreased conduction rate in neurotransmission, protein oxidation, free radicals, cell death and inflammation are all symptoms readily associated with aging.3 Telomeres, however, have been recently touted as the newest piece in the puzzle of aging. But what is a telomere? How does it function with respect to aging? How exactly do telomeres fit into the intricate puzzle of how we age?
When a cell is replicating, it doesn’t copy DNA all the way to the end of the chromosome. Telomeres are in place on the end of the chromosomes to protect the actual DNA strand from getting shorter after replication. The telomere shortens each time the cell is duplicated and then replenished by the enzyme telomerase. As we age, telomerase may not be able to replenish the telomere as effectively. If telomerase isn’t functioning as actively as it has before, telomeres shorten extensively. At this point, cell death/dysfunction is more likely to occur because the DNA cannot be properly duplicated without the protective function that telomeres serve. By having the ability to limit and alter cellular division, telomeres play a major role in disease proliferation and the way cells in our body age.2
Melatonin has already been identified as a major component in anti-aging as it promotes anti-inflammatory/antioxidant gene expression by stimulating transcription factor NrF2 and suppressing CBP/P300 HAT activity.5 Research has suggested that melatonin (converted from serotonin) may play a causal role in telomerase activity. A recent study indicated that although telomerase function was higher in young rats compared to older rats, both groups of rats had increased telomerase function with melatonin supplementation.1 Another study indicated that lifestyle changes-such as social support, diet, exercise and mind/body connection—increased telomerase activity in adults over a five year period compared to a control group. 4
Studies of this nature suggest that we have some power over how readily our cells age and therefore how readily we age. Increased telomerase and therefore telomere length may be one of the keys to slow the aging process and the problems, such as disease, that come along with telomere shortening. An integrative approach including supplemental support of melatonin, as well as lifestyle changes, could be part of the answer to preventing cell age and disease proliferation.
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Akbulut, K. G., Gonul, B., &Akbulut, H. (2009). The role of melatonin on gastric mucosal cell proliferation and telomerase activity in aging. Journal of pineal research, 47(4), 308-312.
Lu, W., Zhang, Y., Liu, D., Songyang, Z., & Wan, M. (2012).Telomeres-structure, function, and regulation. Experimental Cell Research.
Miquel, J. (2009). An update of the oxidation-inflammation theory of aging: the involvement of the immune system in oxi-inflamm-aging. Current pharmaceutical design, 15(26), 3003-3026.
Ornish, D., Lin, J., Chan, J. M., Epel, E., Kemp, C., Weidner, G. & Blackburn, E. H. (2013). Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study. The lancet oncology, 14(11), 1112-1120.