Breathe Easier With Longer Telomeres

Emphysema is a frightening lung problem that makes it hard to catch your breath. Researchers are only now understanding how it starts and how you can protect yourself against this malady.

Your vulnerability to emphysema begins at a genetic level. Unless the chromosomes in stem cells in your lungs function properly, the lungs’ ability to bring oxygen into the body falters. The result: breathlessness and life-threatening low levels of oxygen in your blood.

All of your strands of DNA, including the ones in lung cells, possess small structures that cap their ends called telomeres. These telomeres play a vital role in defending chromosomes against damage and enabling them to keep functioning correctly.

Lab tests at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine show that when stem cells in your lungs that are necessary for oxygen absorption have telomeres that are too short, it disrupts your breathing.

Because of the breakdown of these telomeres, the lungs’ stem cells age prematurely and they cease to divide and reproduce. That interrupts oxygen movement through the alveoli, small sacs in the lungs where blood absorbs oxygen.

Complicating the situation: At the same time as those stem cell telomeres are malfunctioning, the immune system sends immune substances to the lungs that cause the damaging inflammation that also takes place during emphysema.

Previously, it was believed that emphysema was just an inflammatory problem. But the Hopkins researchers have shown it is initially a telomere problem that leads to inflammation.

According to researcher Mary Armanios, doctors and researchers have presumed that “inflammation alone is what drives these lung diseases and have based therapy on anti-inflammatory drugs for the last 30 years.”

Armanios points out that merely trying to limit inflammation doesn’t touch the root cause of emphysema.

Fortunately, there are many ways generally to help the telomeres in your body stay longer and healthier. According to Dr. Isaac Eliaz, some of the best supplements to use include:

Vitamin D: Research demonstrates that this nutrient is linked to longer telomeres.
Omega-3 fatty acids: A study showed that higher omega-3 in the blood are linked to longer telomeres.
Astragalus: This herb has been traditionally used to boost immunity and its components may help telomeres retain their length

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Exercise Your Way to a Younger You

While people exercise for a multitude of reasons (weight-loss, stress relief, social interaction, health and well-being) one of the primary motivations is to maintain health so we live longer. Just how much exercise per week is the ideal for optimised longevity?

The Australian Department of Health advises one 2 ½ to 5 hours per week of moderate physical activity or 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours of vigorous intensity exercise, with muscle strengthening activities on at least two days per week.

However, two impressively large studies suggest considerably longer is actually ideal to maximise our health, both today and in the future.
The larger of these studies was coordinated by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (USA), Harvard University and other institutions pooled research and statistics. The clear conclusion was to maximise longevity, exercise for just over an hour a day.

This reduced the risk of dying prematurely to nearly 40% less likely than those who never exercised, compared to 31% of those who fell into the recommended category of at least 2 ½ hours per week.

In another study Australian researchers found those who exercised at a more intense level reduced their chance of early death even further.
Motivation is one of the key determining factors for getting regular exercise, but whatever exercise you do, research suggests it will all count towards you having better health both now and as you age.

Even if it’s just a matter of walking to work each day, walking or cycling children to school as opposed to taking the car or buying a gym membership for regular workouts, you are still helping yourself to live to an older age and enjoy all the benefits of good health along the way.

Learn about how DNAPlus+ can supplement your workouts and help with your Anti-Aging goals

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Keto Keeps You Young

We know we are what we eat, but can what we eat help slow down the ageing process? A growing number of scientists believe a ketogenic diet is one way to do this. Commonly referred to as the keto diet, it essentially involves eating a very low proportion of carbohydrates (20 grams or less a day), moderate protein and high healthy fats (ideally about 70% of your daily food intake).

The beauty is the high fat ratio works as an appetite suppressant and sugar cravings rapidly fade. When we switch to a keto diet we quickly use up our glucose stores because we are no longer eating a carbohydrate rich diet. This drastically reduces insulin levels because much less insulin is produced now that our bodies are no longer continually processing carbohydrates.

Lower insulin levels are associated with less tissue damage, a lower incidence of diabetes and a slower aging process. The diet’s also effective in reducing triglycerides, elevated levels of which are linked to heart disease and inflammation.

A ketogenic lifestyle reduces oxidative damage and increases the production of powerful antioxidants – studies suggest these can act as a preventative for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, strokes and Alzheimer’s.

The keto diet is also associated with increased energy, better concentration levels and a general sense of wellbeing. So consider skipping the carbs if you want to feel good and stay younger for longer.

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Alcohol and Aging

While many of us enjoy a few wines, beers or G & Ts to unwind, it’s good to be aware of the ageing affect alcohol can have on our bodies. In moderation alcohol is fine and can even have some health benefits, but regularly drinking in excess can make us look older faster.

Alcohol dehydrates our skin, making it appear dry and dull. Vitamin A is vital for the production of collagen but alcohol rapidly depletes our vitamin A levels and a lack of collagen means our skins loses its elasticity. As a result our skin is more prone to developing wrinkles and is less supple and taut. Alcohol also leads to puffiness and redness, so to keep your skin glowing and fresh looking, stick to one standard drink a day for women and two for men. Make sure you drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins.

Drinking alcohol also disrupts our sleep cycles and can cause palpitations as our bodies struggle to process it. Sleep is a vital time for rest and cell restoration, so don’t overdo it if you want to wake up feeling and looking rested, with a bright, clear complexion.