An Anti-Aging Pill? Not Yet!

Do you think you know what you are supposed to do to live a long life?  Stop smoking, eat less (a LOT less!), eat fruits and vegetables, exercise…but what if there was a drug you could take that would reverse the aging process and allow you to live longer?  There isn’t yet, so don’t get too excited, but new research released this week is showing promise in reversing aging in mice.  There are quite a few caveats, of course!  The mice were genetically engineered to age quickly so that makes direct application to our natural causes of aging trickier.  One major potential problem is that the drug could cause cancer.  It looks like this could be a balancing act for researchers to figure out how to provide a benefit, longer life, without the tremendous drawback of cancer. The research is based on telomeres, the small protective caps that are found at the end of chromosomes.  Over time, through cell division and oxidative stress (exposure to actual stress and toxins in the environment), our telomeres shorten causing chromosomes to fray and stop replicating.  Shortened telomeres is believed to be a natural sign of aging and is linked to many health problems including Alzheimer’s and increased risk of certain types of cancers.  The estrogen-based drug used in the study turned on the mice’s dormant telomerase gene which increased the telomere lengths in the animals and their telomerase levels. Don’t wait for the miracle pill, it will be quite a while before this is ready for prime time.  In the meantime, do all the boring stuff you know you should and take antioxidants supplements including vitamins...

Antioxidants and Your Telomeres

Do you know what telomeres are?  New studies on aging are highlighting the telomere, located on the ends of DNA strands, they act as caps that keep the strands from unraveling.  Each time a cell divides a small piece of the telomere breaks off until we run out of telomeres and the cell stops dividing.  Cells are limited to about 50 divisions, but there is an enzyme called telomerase that can make more telomeres.  Unfortunately, most of our cells don’t have very much telomerase, except for cancer cells which are virtually immortal and can continue dividing indefinitely. Studies have shown that if you can increase the number of cell divisions, without causing cancer, you can help your cells to live longer, reducing disease and many frailties associated with aging.   We currently have no way to increase our telomerase, but we can slow the shortening of telomeres.  The number one cause of shortened telomeres is exposure to free radicals and lipid peroxidation which can be countered with antioxidants.  Combinations of specific antioxidants can neutralize these poisonous particles and protect telomeres.  There is a MicroNutrient Test that can measure your bodies’ ability to absorb antioxidants.  There are numerous ways to increase these if you discover that your antioxidant level is deficient. When antioxidants are taken together they protect each other from oxidation which reduces their efficiency.   Antioxidant enzymes are produced by our bodies but to work at maximum efficiency, they need to be protected by antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C, E and A.  All of these can be found naturally in fruits and vegetables, yet another reason for trying to...